Whether I am hiking in the mountains or sitting in my own back yard, nature never fails to inspire me, to soothe me, to fill me with wonder. While I do believe I live in the most beautiful place on earth, I also know that anywhere that one can see nature, unspoiled by human destruction, one can find a spiritual connection to the earth and a sense of oneness with the universe. It is a deeply emotional and spiritual experience and humbling at the same time. We are just one small part of this natural world, no greater or no less than all other parts.
Today was an ordinary day. I got up early, fed the pigs and alpaca, walked the dogs in the first light of morning, organized my lecture notes and headed off to work. I taught, I visited the library, I stopped for a few groceries, I came home.
And that is where the magic begins – those Kodak moments that are captured in the mind even when the camera is not at hand.
As I pull into my driveway and climb out of the car to collect the mail and open the gate, I hear the familiar scree-scree-scree of bald eagles overhead. I see them often around here, and live not too far from a major nesting site, but I never tire of watching them. There at the top of a tall cedar in the vacant land across from my home are two adult baldies, calling to each other with beaks open wide, flying at each other with wings stretched across the horizon. I silently watch them until they disappear from sight, swooping and circling and soaring as they move across the sky.
I drive down to the house and let the dogs out for their after-work run in the pasture. As I open the pasture gate, I see that the old cherry tree nearby has a very fresh large hole drilled into it, about 2 feet from the ground. It was not there this morning, so I know the Northern flickers were here working industriously while I was away, seeking who-knows-what insects from the soft rotting core of the dying tree.
Turning to say hello to Martin, I see a leaf unfurling through the wire of his fence and a robin hopping along the top of the fence with a piece of twine hanging from its beak. Down by the creek, the skunk cabbage is emerging from the winter straw, its Easter dress of green and yellow heralding the longer days of spring.
The three dogs and I walk to the top of the rise at the end of the pasture and, as usual, I sit on the bench with my companions on the ground around me. Charley wanders off to explore a bit, and Princess Belle demands to be picked up, changing her mind when Sadie’s big furry face plops down on my knee, right near where Belle is sitting.
And then Charley comes prancing back, and Sadie gets up and play-bows, and the game is on! Both Charley and Sadie are play-bowing, chasing each other, jumping up in the air with a canine version of a high-five, wrestling and chasing some more. Belle, little Ms. Referee, barks her encouragement and tries to keep out of the way of two crazy dogs.
Charley and Sadie playing
It is wonderful to see them play, not only because it marks Sadie’s acceptance into the pack but because my Charley has rarely, in her ten and a half years, been a playful dog. But there they are, two senior border collie/rough collie crosses, egged on by a little sheltie, playing and playing and playing until Sadie (the heavier of the two by far) lies down exhausted.
Charley and Sadie resting
Charley recognizes that Sadie is resting, and sits beside her, occasionally nuzzling Sadie’s ear or her neck as if to say “you okay pal?”
And in time Sadie stands back up and all three of the dogs sedately stroll back down the path to the pasture gate and home again.
Just a few Kodak moments can turn an ordinary day into a memorable one.
Dogs on the hill
Best friends, happy dogs