Deliberations on embracing change.
Escaping my usual routine I retreat to near northern lakes, surrounded by nature, protected from over stimulation of electric lights, abrupt noise, and diversion of focus. In this place I can harmoniously be a part of the wilderness environment. As the natural world around me evolves, adapting to circumstances, I too can learn to accept my own considerations in life. It’s here that healthy thoughts and perspectives take shape.
There is nothing quite so rejuvenating as immersion in the forested lake country of the north, for the fresh air, slower pace of life and the quintessential call of a loon. The natural world always teaches me great wisdom and comforts me contemplating circumstances in life. I’m embracing the pensive season of autumn now, when I’m grateful for summer and celebrating its bounty, yet pondering the cooler months ahead, speculating life’s volatile circumstances.
It’s six am and no one else is awake. As I venture outside of our rustic cabin anticipating spectacular views, they are blocked by a thick fog. Experiencing this amazing autumn morning takes patience, as finally the mist slowly vaporizes, remarkably unveiling a cobalt blue sky over an enchanted lake, encircled with vivid colours of golden yellows, neon oranges and scarlet cherry-reds. Once my magnificent view is delivered, the sun displays a ball of blazing light, perfectly mirrored off the lake’s surface and there’s a clarity beyond where the shoreline leads. Eventually this scene changes again, as gentle breezes come up, breaking forth ripples that blur the sun’s flawlessly reflected image.
Another vista unfolds, of a long-ago retired tree, staged as driftwood near lake’s edge. Its upper side has an abundance of organisms, brimming with soft and spongy mosses, plus scrubby bush that is bristly and haphazard. It’s a favourite spot for the Blue Heron, who lands here daily, to gaze into its shaded waters, watch for unsuspecting frogs, then dive its long beak into the depths for a tasty snack.
Nature’s complexity creates joy, in diverse ways, as many as it has offerings. From where I sit, I brush my hand’s open palm across the forest floor, the multitude of forest debris, including poky needles, baby seed cones and fallen leaves carpeted beneath the trees, amaze me with their innumerable sizes, shapes, and textures. Next, there’s a rustle in the branches above me, followed by the territorial babble of a scolding squirrel, boasting its area of dominance while collecting acorns for winter. I marvel at this fascinating site, all existing here together without fanfare of media attention, only mine.
Wandering along a pathway, stepping over rocks and in between uneven roots, there are many distinctively eye-catching floras to investigate, like late summer mushrooms and fungi, where no two growths are ever alike. Soaking in the permeating earthy scent of the forest, everything seems still, though it’s in a dynamic cycle of fluctuation, ever evolving with adaptations for logical survival. Relishing autumn’s precious weeks of colourful splendor, I want to resemble nature’s tactics of flux for survival and adjust myself, for harmonious stability.
The visual sense is a powerful captivator, universally appreciated in all languages and at any time of year. I’m intrigued to understand how visuals evoke calming thought. As there are few straight lines in nature, mainly trunks of trees and the water’s surface along the shoreline, natural growth, even rocks, are portrayed with various degrees of roundedness. Colours contrast to luminate with definition, but flowing shapes are rarely depicted with perfect geometric profiles. Insightfully grasping this, I realize that no journey in life follows a straight line either, there’s twists or curves that humble, triggering adjustment. As nature constantly adjusts and anything is possible, all evolving uniquely, then everything must be acceptable, even without perfectly ordered measurement.
Nature miraculously knows how to react to change, timing cues with an inherent ability to adapt, like plants and trees that bend to grow in the direction of sunlight for energy. As the days grow shorter, geese intrinsically know to start flying south, knowing they must escape oncoming cooler temperatures. While the fall’s fluctuating weather conditions, inspire wilderness adaptation, they also help in my transformation, like deciding on what is most imperative to my life; loved ones and cooperative friendships. As the coming of winter will provide rest and regeneration for the forest, I know that spring will bring back green growth and the music of songbirds. The promised cycle of life encourages my enthusiasm for next year’s adventures. Plans aside, I’m just going to get my sandals, grab my paddle and journey out by canoe, preparing with clothing adjustments, taking along a light jacket.
Paddling along I come upon an open section of tufted grasses where there’s an atmosphere of anticipated passionate reunion. The cicadas collective high-pitched shrill, all around, voice their incessant calls; “I’m here, come and get me” reminiscent of their ongoing biological pursuit for regeneration and species survival. I acknowledge the brilliance of nature’s ability to time everything perfectly in unison, stiving for what is essential, planning decomposition and regeneration, so effectively keeping an ongoing cyclical environment.
Although hesitant to be thrilled about autumn’s changes, the seasonal cues of shorter hours of daylight and cooler evenings, these are reminders of great transformations ahead. Whether I sit, walk or paddle my canoe here, I believe it’s essential to appreciate and protect these precious undeveloped wild places so that others will be able to experience the authentic natural highs found here for many seasons to come.
While the northwoods proclaims its colourful crescendo in these precious autumn weeks, it’s an organic recipe that moulds my thoughts into trusting that all which is to come, however unfamiliar, will just unfold exactly as it should.
WRITER AND PHOTOGRAPHER CYNTHIA PERCIVAL