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LIVING GENTLY IN NATURE
By Carol Cooper Bustin
To live gently must have something to do with the integration of one's being with whatever there is around you.
I'm at the cottage and a red squirrel is on the flower-strewn patio outside the window. When not concerning myself with whether or not the little fellow will get into the walls next fall, I can feel benevolent warmth fill my body. I'm warmed by his trustfulness, by the erratic way he hops forward on all fours, by the darker stripe on his side.
Not far from the edge of the deck I've observed two garter snakes sunning themselves on the warm rocks as respite after the cool weather of last week. Looking up from my chair I spied a skink, I think, exploring the edge line of the roof. How or why it was there? I have no idea, but it was a special moment just to watch and cast his destiny to whatever guides us all.
Little, dark-blue butterflies love the periwinkle-blue flower in the center of my country garden. A monarch meandered by finding no milkweed for his meal, but he didn't deny me his beauty in spite of my turning him away from the inn. A vine was growing in the forest and this spring it had grown no less than two metres. Along its length it had sent down occasional roots, an analogy for life. It meandered onward, grounded in the sum of its experiences across the lawn.
Living gently must include enjoying the minnows that follow me out of curiosity as I wander around aimlessly in the water, just looking. Frogs, green frogs have inhabited the mouth of the spring half way down the beach for the 55 or so years that I've been coming here. There are two new kids in a cottage down the way. I see them daily wandering along the beach and playing in the spring. I don't think there are any frogs there this summer. Must chat with them. Get them with the program.
Living gently must mean paddling along the very edge of the lake and noticing the white quartz in the water around the point to the east of us. Someone came to collect them for their garden last year, and I reminded them that fish lay their eggs among those rocks. They may have been intimidated when I told them that the removal of those rocks is illegal. In any case, they are still there as is the two-metre high rock face that was a mountain to be scaled when I barely reached my mother's waist.
Knowing a place intimately, and caring for it year after year may be the best way I know to live gently. Earth, I love you.
Carol Cooper Bustin divides her year between the mountains of British Columbia and the eastern lake district of Ontario.
Living Gently in Nature by Carol Cooper Bustin ©2007, All Rights Reserved.
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