Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘wild’

Battle with unconditioned breath the unconditioned air. Shun electric wire. Communicate slowly. Live a three-dimensional life; stay away from screens.
— Wendell Berry

The more I write about nature while sitting at a computer, the more ridiculous it feels to write about nature while sitting at a computer.  Especially in summer, the wild spaces beckon and it’s difficult to resist the call.   If one is to sing like the grasshopper in summer, the time to do it is now. 

The very ‘nature’ of nature calls one out to wild spaces.  We are three dimensional beings living in a three dimensional world.  This reality becomes clearer the more time we spend outdoors.  Virtual worlds pale in comparison. 

Taste a wild berry right off the vine and immediately all five senses are engaged.  Each fresh berry consumed outdoors seems to act as a magic potion that makes one forget the indoors, technology and all other commitments.  Sparkling waters, singing birds and buzzing bees have a similar enchanting effect.

Each new electric wire that’s erected by the power company seems more and more to desecrate the blue sky.   Do so few people complain about the altered view because they’re so busy keeping their heads down… texting… driving… living in virtual worlds?

I don’t have any answers.  Just more questions.

Read Full Post »

It’s a busy morning in the marsh.  A sandpiper rushes across a stretch of sea-smoothed stones.  If only we could make such sweet piping sounds as we take off in flight to meet our deadlines, Mondays wouldn’t be so bad.

Crabs are sparring with one another just beneath the water’s surface.  The disagreement is over almost as quickly as it’s started, and they respectfully move to their territorial rocks.  Look at all those little fish.  Surely there’s enough for everyone to share.

Mergansers have already had breakfast and are determined to stay close and tight as they move quickly to their next destination.  There are only three young ones left in a brood that might have had eight or more to start with.  Things don’t always work out as planned, but it’s important to move forward and make the most of the day ahead.

A great blue heron wrestles with a long fish.  The bird twists its snake-like neck and turns its head upside down in order to get a better grip.  It could certainly teach us a thing or two on the value of being results-oriented.  Sensing that I am getting much too close for comfort, it takes off with its meal in flight.

The heron below also takes off as I draw near.  The sandpiper wading nearby doesn’t mind its ominous silhouette.  It knows that things usually aren’t as scary and threatening as they might appear at first.

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

~ Wendell Berry

Read Full Post »

coyoteCoyotes that have lost their fear of humans have become a concern in some parts of Nova Scotia where they are getting too close for comfort.  Problems often occur in  neighborhoods that border wild areas where there is an overlap of territories occupied by people and wildlife.

Last week, a young female hiker was killed by two coyotes in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, heightening awareness of the problem.  Both coyotes were shot. One is still on the loose, but an autopsy on the other revealed that it was neither hungry nor diseased when it attacked.

Some blame the problem on people feeding the coyotes, either willingly or by keeping backyard compost piles. I once heard of a woman somewhere in the province who was regularly feeding a couple of  skinny, homeless dogs, until her husband noticed her actions and pointed out that she was unassumingly feeding wild coyotes!

Small pets often fall prey to coyotes looking for an easy meal. I’ve always kept my cat indoors after being warned of coyotes in the area years ago.  Toddlers playing by themselves outdoors might also be easy prey.

It’s been suggested that the coyotes that attacked the hiker may have been coydogs, the offspring of coyotes and dogs.  These hybrids may have less of a natural fear of humans written in their DNA.

wile coyoteAs a solution, many folks would like a bounty placed on all coyotes in the province. It’s already legal to kill coyotes that are a nuisance on your property and there is a hunting season for coyotes as well. 

One comment at the local newspaper’s website boasted that eight coyotes had been trapped in the woods near Bissett Road a couple of years ago.

The first coyote I ever encountered, a strikingly beautiful animal, was seen while I was driving along that road years ago. I saw one near there this past spring along the salt marsh trail. It wanted nothing to do with me and quickly ran off.  More recently, a Cole Harbour man complained that a coyote had approached him on the trail and seemed to have no fear at all.  The Natural Resources Department told him the animal was probably just curious.

coyote in marsh

Coyote along Salt Marsh Trail

Like other animal lovers, I don’t want all coyotes to be hunted for the sake of a few bad ones.  However, I also don’t like the idea of having to look over my shoulder while I’m out in the woods.  A balanced response to the problem is needed.

Coyotes are not native to Nova Scotia.  These clever opportunists infiltrated the province just last century, coming up from the US.   As wolves were made extinct in the province well over a century ago due to over trapping, coyotes have no natural enemies to keep their population in check.  I’d like to see parks introduce wolves as part of the solution to the problem.  This would put the balance back into the ecosystem that was removed by man in the first place.

If you do venture out in the woods, it’s recommended that you don’t walk alone and keep children close.  The best advice seems to be to walk loudly and carry a big stick.

See also:  Nova Scotia Celebrates Earth Day with a Bounty on Coyotes

Receive by email or subscribe in a reader

Read Full Post »

wild blackberries

The blackberries that grow wild in my yard aren’t as perfectly formed as the genetically modified ones to be found at the grocery store, but they are tasty.  I let them grow where they will and over the years the number of brambles has increased along with the amount of fruit.

blackberriesNova Scotia is known for its abundance of berries.  Like other wild berries, blackberries are full of vitamins and minerals that make them an excellent food choice. For maximum nutritional value, they are best eaten raw, fresh off the vine.

For dessert, they can be piled raw into empty tart shells with fresh whipped cream.  Blackberries can also be enjoyed in pies, jams, pancakes and wines.  They are also delicious served simply with cream and sugar.  Their leaves can be made into a tea.

Berry bannock is an excellent native recipe that can be cooked in a pan over a campfire:

  • Mix 2 cups of flour with 3 tsps baking powder, 4 tbsps powdered milk and 1/2 tsp salt.
  • Cut in 6 tbsps margarine, butter or shortening.
  • Ad 1 cup washed damp berries, mixing gently to coat fruit.
  • Add 1/3 cup water and work into a dough.
  • Shape into a 1 inch thick rounded cake, dust with flour and place into a warm, greased fry pan.
  • Cook over moderate heat until a crust forms on the bottom.
  • Turn over with spatula and cook until browned and no dough sticks into a fork inserted into centre of dough.

Often the birds manage to get to the blackberries before I have a chance to pick them.  The bramble shown below was picked clean by wild creatures who obviously didn’t believe in wasting anything.  I’ve found a nest of cedar waxwings in the yard in the past, placed not far from some blackberry brambles.

blackberry stems

The following quotation was used in the first post I wrote in this journal last October.  I’m reminded of it whenever I pick the blackberries growing in the yard.

I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods.  Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.

~Wendell Berry

Receive by email or subscribe in a reader

Read Full Post »

ragged robin

Ragged Robin flowers grow wild in the yard.  They just popped up a few summers ago and I’ve been mowing around them ever since.  They’re too pretty to cut down.

daisy patchI used to mow around the Oxeye daisies too but now restrict their growth to mostly a large circular bed in one corner of the yard.  Once they’re done blooming, I mow the area flat.

Wild flowers require no special care.  They grow where God has planted them (or I’ve transplanted them) and need no extra watering beyond what rains down.  They’re not as prone to blight and insect damage as introduced species seem to be, and the slugs don’t have much of an apetite for them.

Unfortunately, these plants are often seen as weeds and tend to be either tolerated or eradicated with great effort from city lawns.

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

~ William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

Whether or not a plant is considered a weed is a matter of perception.  Poet William Blake believed that ‘If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.’  Signs of innocence are close at hand but it’s up to us to open our eyes, take notice and try to understand them.  ‘Everything that lives is holy’ and can bring us in touch with that which is infinite.  What positive things might happen today if we were willing to abandon our pre-conceived, limited notions of beauty and abundance?

shore birds in flight

Nature in its many forms possesses qualities that can connect us to this holy state.  From sandpipers on the ocean’s shore to doves on city streets, these signs of innocence are ready to give us a glimpse of the infinite and the eternal, if only we would adjust our focus.

Receive by email or subscribe in a reader

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: