Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Nature Nerd Wednesdays

Welcome to Nature Nerd Wednesdays, your mid-week nature break to reconnect with the calming, refreshing, and inspiring effects of nature. Take a deep breath and enjoy...
 
Fireweed, Cedar River Watershed, Autumn 2015
“Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.”
― Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There 

The more we examine and connect with the world around us - on its level, not on ours - the more we realize that beauty can be found anywhere, even in unexpected places, or in things previously thought to be ugly, useless, or even a nuisance. The vivid colors in the plant pictured above look exotic and unlike anything we'd expect to see here in western Washington. But in fact, this is the ubiquitous fireweed plant, transformed in autumnal hues. Fireweed grows everywhere from roadside ditches to subalpine meadows. Their fuchsia blossoms wave atop a tall stalk all summer before going to seed and setting sail on the wind in puffs of downy fluff. Although they look weedy (it's right there in the name!) these plants are utilized by bees to produce darn good honey, and even though they may look like dried, dead stalks come fall, a closer look may reveal unexpected beauty... and perhaps unexpected admiration.

These thoughts came to mind while watching a recent Nature 365 film. Titled Autumn Showers, this film captures all that is beautiful about the rain: the sound of pattering drops, the ripples wrinkling the surface of a creek, a tiny reflecting puddle formed in the upturned fruiting body of a mushroom. How many of us would pause to peer into a pool of water sitting in a mushroom? Most of us likely don't find mushrooms lovely, but a closer look can reveal an unrealized beauty. Watch the film and see for yourself: Nature 365 - Autumn Showers

(Be sure to click the link to watch the film - I am sadly unable to embed the video in this blog post)

Most of us have come to love the western Washington rain and have an affinity for the sounds, smells, and scenes it creates. There's a quality about the rain that we've come to accept and internalize - we may call it beauty, or it may be one of those phenomena "as yet uncaptured by language." Whatever the case, I know I'm not the only one rejoicing over the upcoming showery forecast... be sure to get outdoors and revel in the rain!


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