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Posts Tagged ‘peace’

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

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What if you woke up one morning and your vision wasn’t the same?  How would you adjust your day, your work and your attitude?

Last week I crossed paths with a small garter snake that had only one eye.  Even though snakes rely on vibration and scent to track their prey, I wondered how it would manage.  Coincidentally, the next day, an eye infection left me with no vision in one eye and blurred sight in the other.  

Many wild creatures, such as the ospreys above, rely on good vision in both their eyes to make the fine judgements in distance required to capture prey.  Others rely on both their eyes to avert becoming prey themselves.  Humans who have lost sight in one eye quickly adapt to any loss in depth perception by moving their heads slightly in order to make a more accurate judgement of distances involved.  In humans at least, it would seem that the greatest benefit to having two eyes is simply in having a spare.  

 Blurred vision is another problem.  It can make a familiar walk in the woods an intimidating experience unless a much slower pace than usual is adopted.   Many of the beautiful details in nature are also lost when vision is blurred.   

However, when vision is impaired, sounds and textures can become a source of both information and pleasure.  The sound of rain falling, the soft texture of spring grass underfoot and the warmth of a spring breeze on your face can be soothing and refreshing in ways that may have been overlooked before.

Those things that nature denied to human sight, she revealed to the eyes of the soul.
~ Ovid

Our immediate surroundings become more important when our eyesight is  impaired.  Unable to look clearly into the distance or quickly shift our gaze from one focal point to another, we’re also more compelled to focus on just one thing at a time.  Since everything seems to take more time to execute, there is a greater need to simplify and prioritize activities.   Fortunately, once limitations are accepted, the transition becomes easier, bringing with it a more peaceful existence. 

As my normal vision returns, I wonder if something that was found this past week will be lost again.  I’ll have to wait and see.

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geese in salt marsh

Though water is a constant feature in the salt marsh, during high tide, it seems like the water is everywhere.  This morning it was also the same colour as the sky, which made the entire scene appear watery.  Canada geese dotted the soft grey below the horizon line.

water and sky

The narrow trail that passes through the salt marsh allows one to be surrounded by sky and water without being out in a boat.   It’s a unique experience and certainly one that’s mind opening and peaceful. 

trail in november 

Years ago, a railroad passed through this marsh connecting Musquodoboit on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia with Dartmouth.   It was named the Blueberry Express for the number of blueberries that were transported into the city for sale.  Train service carried passengers until 1960.  Travel through here would have been a wonderful experience back then too.  The views would have been just as awesome, with perhaps even more wildlife to see than there is now.

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