Monday, January 5, 2015

Our connection to Nature

                                                                                    photo by Morning Bray Farm

Dave and I listen to the Thomas Jefferson Hour on North Dakota Public Radio. It is a weekly conversation with President Thomas Jefferson and then a conversation with Clay Jenkinson, the Jeffersonian scholar who channels Jefferson. It is always a fascinating program, either for the history we learn or for the political questions discussed.

Yesterday morning, Thomas Jefferson told the story of a Christmas when as a young man  he slept in the attic of a friend's house. Water dripped through the roof and ruined his pocket watch and the rats carried off his garters and some sheet music. Jefferson commented that although it was unfortunate that those things happened, they weren't unusual, the people of that time were closely connected to Nature.

Today, most urban and suburban people have lost that connection to nature, but in some ways, rural people haven't.  We certainly don't have leaks in the ceiling of our bedroom or rats carrying off articles of clothing. But we do interact with nature on a daily basis. Someone has to feed and water the sheep no matter what the temperature or wind chill. The radio announcers have been warning against going outside all day because of dangerous cold, but we walked the dog and went for a run. This evening, because there was a full moon and the sky was clear, we dressed in our warmest clothes, took a thermos of cocoa adulterated with Grand Marnier, and sat out in the yard to watch the moon rise over the hills and the trees.

We set a timer to remind ourselves to go outside because even in the midst of nature, we often don't really see what's happening beyond the walls of the house. As we sat, just around the corner from the bite of the wind, we relaxed, sipped cocoa and chatted. We discussed possibilities for the section of field that has been too wet the last few summers. We tried to figure out exactly where the moon would show through the trees, and we appreciated the light mist in the air - a low, fast traveling cloud that dissipated just as the moon rose. Then we admired the view -  the golden globe of the moon shining through stark, black trees, and were thankful for our connection to Nature.

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