“One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, "What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?”
― Rachel Carson
In light of yesterday being International Women's Day, it only seemed appropriate to share a quote from one of my heroes in environmentalism and conservation. Rachel Carson's writings abound in profound statements and awe-inspiring quotes, but the words above resonated with me as such a good way to approach the world around us.
Carson was offering practical advice on observational skills here, but the quote is also poetic and philosophical when read out of context like this. How would we remember, live, and appreciate a particular experience if this were the first and last time we'd ever see it? How filled with wonder and intentionally present would we be in those moments?
Without consciously doing so, I tend to approach each of my walks, hikes, and ramblings in nature with that same frame of mind, looking at each giant Doug fir, delicate trillium, and flitting hummingbird as though I had never seen it before. And in most cases, I hadn't seen that particular one before! Each experience can be new and unique if we allow it to be. This is how I became one of those weird people who can hike on trails through ten different forests that outwardly appear the same... typical PNW lowland forest of cedars, bigleaf maples, sword ferns, salmonberry and mud... and have a completely different experience and enjoyment in each one.
One sight that caught my attention on a recent hike to Fragrance Lake was the reflection of the tree branches on the surface of the lake. While those cedars stood still and stoic, their lacy green limbs were reflected in an abstract image of rippling, blurred dark shadows on the water's surface.
Tree reflections? Big deal, right?
Well, to the eyes that haven't seen them before and will never see them again... yes! And to wit, more wisdom from Rachel Carson:
“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.”
― Rachel Carson