Posts Tagged ‘loren eiseley’


porcupineDo you ever get the feeling you’re being watched?  If you’re in the woods, you probably are.  The wild things are there and just because you don’t see them, doesn’t mean they don’t see you. 

It’s not so bad in the daytime, but once darkness falls, the idea that there are faces watching you from behind the leaves and branches can make you feel uneasy.  My grandmother used to say that there was nothing in the dark that wasn’t there when there was light.  It’s true.  Once the sun goes down, good is still good and evil is still evil. 

What does change is opportunity for those that prefer to work under cover of darkness.  I’d feel less at ease walking some city streets at night than the deep woods.  Many animals are nocturnal and just happen to go about their regular business when the rest of the world is sleeping.   Any encounter with them is likely accidental, but they do have their territories, just as we have ours.

At any time of day, to tread into the wilderness when all is quiet makes one feel at peace and at one with the world in a way that few experiences can duplicate.  I don’t worry about the things that watch me through the leaves.  They’re more afraid of me than I am of them.  Afraid that I’ll take my sunflower seeds back…

squirrel eating sunflower seeds

I am treading deeper and deeper into leaves and silence. I see more faces watching, non-human faces. Ironically, I who profess no religion find the whole of my life a religious pilgrimage.
~  Loren Eiseley

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Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war… Mostly the animals understand their roles, but man, by comparison, seems troubled by a message that, it is often said, he cannot quite remember or has gotten wrong… Bereft of instinct, he must search continually for meanings… Man was a reader before he became a writer, a reader of what Coleridge once called the mighty alphabet of the universe.
~ from The Unexpected Universe by Loren Eiseley


Rainbow Haven at low tide

Rainbow Haven at Low Tide

Despite differences in sand colour and texture, the presence of pebbles, stones or rocks, all of the earth’s beaches have a similar effect on humans.  Times converge where water meets the shore.  These are places where long buried ideas and memories are dug up and future dreams loom on the horizon.  

Even people unaccustomed to spending time in nature warm quickly to the outdoor experience offered by the shore. Whether the day is bright and sunny or misty and overcast, a walk along the beach puts one into a detached frame of mind that is above and beyond the day’s weather forecast. 

Some days we might look at what’s drifted ashore with the tide or pick up a shell to examine more closely.  Tidepools are full of interesting creatures.  The Blue Mussel bed at Rainbow Haven beach is always a great place to find rock crabs, whelks, starfish and moon shells at low tide.   Much in nature (and life) can be taken for granted unless we patiently give it a more careful look.   

On other days we might look out at the seascape that encompasses the shore, sea and sky.  When searching for new meanings to life’s events and purposes it’s often helpful to step back from the details and take a good, long look at the big picture.  Few experiences put a sparkle on the day as much as witnessing a sunrise or sunset at the beach. 

Each stage of life seems to present us with a quest for new meanings and purposes.  Though these may be hard sought and won, they can also easily be washed away by the tides of time.   It’s best to not leave too much space in between visits to the shore. 

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