Nature Girl

In honor of Earth Day last weekend, I gave this week’s Kuhnspiration writing challenge an al fresco flair and asked you (and me, too) an important question about our interaction with that grand dame herself, Mama Nature. The question posed was:

How do you interact with the great outdoors on a daily (or weekly) basis? And what is one of your favorite moments in nature that’s really stuck with you?

Did you tackle this exercise outside I hope? Right now, I sit gazing out at the birdbath in our backyard (no morning action just yet) and though I’m currently inside, I will be outside before long.

So Mother Nature and I have this wonderful pact. She provides me light breezes, chirping birdies, quirky and amusing squirrel acrobatics along the wooden fence and we agree that I’ll keep screening around me as much as possible, so I can’t possibly let any bugs dampen my spirits (that is, hanger-on hornets, bloodsucking ‘skeeters, wandering wasps, badgering bees, nagging gnats, vengeful ladybugs, and the like). Much of my outdoor time is spent on our lanai. Aah. The lanai. My haven. My second favorite reading place (next to the cool blue living room/library). My other office. My respite on the chaise lounge when I simply need a glass of wine, some stargazing and stellar conversation with Mr. K. My locale for the weekend morning ritual of catching up on both metropolitan newspapers for the week. My spa. My resort.

And it’s not glamourous, not lush and luxurious, not even all that pretty, but it’s mine. All mine. (And Mr. K’s. And Wells Fargo’s…)

For me, those opportunities to be at the center of nature – even if there is a light screen physically between us – allows me to put some of the noise inside my head on mute, even just for a few moments. And let me tell you: it gets rather loud and distracting in there sometimes.

Out here, I can hone in on the hawk badgering the other birds. Or the blue jay mocking him. Or hear the gentle flap of the dove family leaving the nest to get more twigs. I can watch the lizards scamper about on the lanai ground – from this almost dead plant to that almost dead plant and HOP! Right into the little window hole on the fading lighthouse complete with four intimidating pint-size wrestler-like figures watching over the place at the top. (I don’t think anyone’s told them that except for rainy season, there aren’t actually any nearby seas surrounding the lighthouse but mums on that one, okay? Wouldn’t want to piss them off for fear they might go all ‘clobbering time’ on me.)

I do enjoy getting in touch with the great outdoors on my daily walks, too, which have become more like weekly walks as of late but I am aiming to change that pattern soon. I will say though that with the success at making music so fantastically tiny and portable, I am prone to reach for the IPOD Shuffle as I step outside for fresh air, and while I do get to enjoy some of that, I’m really missing out on the natural symphony of serenity that surrounds me as I sweat and step, sweat and step, sweat and step. I’m reluctant to change my practice though because the rock and roll music often keeps me going when I’m ready to drop. Sometimes it helps me pick up the pace or tune out my wimpy willingness to wave a white flag and call for a cab on the side of the road. I may have to sacrifice a little bit of the natural harmonies to ensure I make it home in one piece…or at all.

Some of my favorite “nature” moments I recall are when I was a kid – about 8-10 years old, and my parents had a little 16′ motorboat. Now, don’t go picturing this slick, sexy motorboat docked outside a mansion. It was on blocks on the grass carpet outside our 14′ x 64′ mobile home where I grew up in Southwest Florida. Much different image, right? When we were ready to take it out on the weekends, Dad would hook up the boat to the station wagon hitch and we’d toodle over to the “richie” part of town to use their boat slips. We’d pack up some finger sandwiches, cut veggies, snacks and sodas and head over to a little island just off the inland waters of the Gulf of Mexico. We had heard it was a private island but no one ever seemed to bother us there or told us to leave, so it continued to be our little getaway. I think had I been a regular viewer of a show like LOST at the time, I might not have been so comfortable exploring. Come to think of it, that island was a lot like the one on the show. Hmm. Anyway,  I don’t know if it was the fresh Gulf air and breezes, the hot but soft, squishy white sand between my toes or those dainty little sandwiches I loved so much, but it was so fun to look ahead and see the wide open sea in front of you. And to think, at that time, I still didn’t know how to swim but I didn’t care in the slightest with my little life jacket in place. I was so much more fearless then. Sigh.

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So…what about you? How do you try to infuse a little nature into your day or week to stay in touch with the world around you? And do you have any favorite past moments in the Great Outdoors to share? Chime in here and tell us all about them. And whatever you do, make sure you step outside today. It is truly a beautiful day, and I think we all deserve a little of that. Don’t you?

Cheers to finding that daily spark in your life!
Chris

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