When we think of a force of nature, our thoughts often turn to those terrifying and often devastating earthquakes, tornados, avalanches, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, and wildfires. But sometimes in nature, forces whisper and almost go unnoticed.
In the solitude of the hiking trail, the rhythm of our boots joined the whoosh of the wind as it races through the tree tops. When I look closely I can see how the wind shapes those tall sentinels, bending and curving them with its quiet force.
Could have been wind or water (or the lack of water) or something else that worked this tree trunk loose from the ground. Now it continues to contribute to life in the forest as it decays, providing a home to insects and fungi, enriching the soil…and providing a natural frame for this photo!
Tiny flowers spring up, planted by the wind and passing wildlife, watered by the increasingly rare raindrops, and nibbled by the local inhabitants. In the meadows they create a carpet of color, a delight for the eyes.
Look closer and you can see the individual blossoms as they sway in the breezes, their beauty fleeting…it won’t be long before the blooms dry up and fall off and this colorful carpet will turn to dry brush.
The barbed wire hints at the cattle that graze these spaces. As I see the fences I remember a photo recently posted by a friend…and it becomes a mentor for one of my own.
I hear birds and look up. On this hike I have seen birds of prey floating on the wind currents and what I think are local woodpeckers, with bright red heads, chatting with one another in the tall oaks high above me. I see other evidence of their presence, the creation of granary trees where they store their acorns.
There are so many forces of nature at work in this magnificent place in our local mountains. Nature’s forces weren’t roaring, but they whispered their power, begging me to take notice and appreciate the intricacies of her systems at work. I’m part of this system too, and when I care I can make a positive difference, remembering that my needs and desires need to stay in balance with those of the trees and the birds and the wildflowers.