I was somewhat dismayed to find my daughter festooning the fridge with paintings of pumpkins and bats today. It seems September has barely arrived, and Halloween is more than 45 days away (yes, we counted). This is the time to celebrate shiny red apples. Or, better yet, native paw paws.
Perhaps what I love most about nature is its inability to be rushed. Winter will not arrive on November 1 just because the malls have adorned themselves with Christmas decorations. Tulips bloom when they’re ready, not when chocolate rabbits appear on store shelves.
We live in a society that’s always ready for the next big thing. Time spent in nature forces us to contemplate the here and now, whether that’s summer’s fireflies or the delicate bare branches of winter.
There is no pigeonholing nature, either. I know that lady slippers emerge from the forest floor sometime in early May, but the exact day is a mystery until it arrives. Weather conditions, changes in soil composition, the growth of neighboring plants: these are the supporting actors in the lady slipper’s starring role.
Most of us are so busy with the demands of work and home that finding time to check in with the outdoors is rare. We miss the phases of the moon, forget to watch the tides. Luckily, for now at least, nature hasn’t gone anywhere. We’re the ones who are missing.
by Jenny Houghton
Youth Program Coordinator