Through unpredictable times, the incredible journey that transformed me to develop more appreciative perspectives.
Just two years ago no one could have predicted a near ‘shutdown’ of world economies. We were happily going about our hectic lives, when overnight, we plunged into ‘survival mode’ and were forced to stay at home. Life became uncertain and with an unknown future. Halting all working plans seemed unimaginable, yet like everyone, I stopped personal interaction with loved ones, friendships, workplaces, and recreational pursuits. As these social activities changed drastically, so too did my pursuit of traveling to unfamiliar wilderness environments to discover and explore.
Once the daunting consequences of freedom curtailments were accepted, the goal of my next journey was to find motivation and inspiration in local green environments, including our country gardens near Orangeville. Even though my wings were ‘clipped,’ being forbidden to fly anywhere for new adventures to write about, creativity took flight and what unfolded was an astonishing expansion of appreciation. I became resourceful focusing on nearby habitats for entertainment as I discovered the pleasures of species and organisms more intimately.
By focusing on nature’s cyclical triumphs, I was distracted from my angst and rejuvenated in thought as I unearthed and renewed my fascination for its admirably detailed beauty, while acquiring an appreciation for the challenges of its survival. This engrossed harnessing of my listening, close observation, and astute consideration, has serenaded me with soothing sounds while I have followed my curiosity and rediscovered mother nature’s intricate relationships. The interconnectedness between species like; bugs for birds, frogs for ponds, and mushrooms for trees, and how they influence one another, has given me insightful value of their existence.
The advantage of embracing life cycles of a forest or garden for stimulation is that they are dynamic, ever changing, like the seasons. There is always something new to learn, since weather circumstances fluctuate and environmental conditions evolve, species do learn to cope by altering habits essential for long term tenacity. This was precisely what I needed to do, evolve with the conditions, not just cope, but thrive by adjusting to establish a balanced and contented presence.
An example of my changed or adapted perspective of the natural world was to cope with early dawn bird life. At first it seemed aggravating, but by understanding that bird jargon was important, like courtship for example; “look at me, I’m very desirable” included avian cheerfulness like; “Hey it’s shaping up to be a perfect day, I just caught a huge worm, it was a wriggler, but very juicy.” aided in my understanding and assisted in softening the irritation of early morning chatter.
Another transformative perspective is that of adapting to the humbling effects of physical injury or illness when they strike and make a change to our plans. Adjusting for healing starts with flexibility of thought, then patiently awaiting discomfort to diminish, so that once mobility improves, and strength returns there is relief and renewed appreciation for healthy physiology. Miraculously, through these transformative progressions, compassion matures, and one learns to cope with restrictions and adapt with updated capabilities.
Undeniably with change, there can also be sorrow in nature, for instance when I inspected an inactive Robin’s nest one afternoon. As I quietly made my weekly rounds to inspect specific trees where I knew young birdlife was soon to be hatching, there lay two tiny dry globs, and the third, a soft turquoise egg, was cracked and unopened, all left abandoned. Sadly, the reality of the scene caught my heart ‘off guard’.
While these past months have seen social interaction and travel plans curtailed, adjustments have improved my understanding of the complexities of life nearby and stirred my gratitude for appreciation of these countless blessings, the golden ingredient, stimulating my energies. Surrounding myself within wild spaces, out of doors, exploring close to home and around our gardens has been incredibly encouraging and satisfying. I’m enthused about living in the country, viewing farmer’s fields, diligently tilled and harvested, and I am comforted to know that these farms feed and sustain so many.
When Dorothy went on her incredible journey to Oz, a land far away where everything seemed exciting in contrast with the ordinary reality back home among nurturing folks, she came to realize her gratitude by being among familiar places and faces. This similar revelation happened with me, yet without the incredible journey to a far away place.
The grass may look greener on the other side for a rabbit, or enthusiastic traveler, yet, like the rabbit foraging close by, I have been surprisingly content surveying flowers in our back yard and Canola over the split rail fence out back. At the end of the day, our dwelling in the country has resembled my yellow brick road to paradise where the wrinkles of life’s uncertainties have been gracefully smoothed while we calmly chat, sitting around the kindling flames of our open fire.
Writer & Photographer Cynthia Percival