Feeling in Nature

Dusk Approaching on Plain of Six Glaciers Trail, Sept. 2012

Approaching dusk on plain of six glaciers trail, Banff National Park, Sept. 2012

Being in nature has always evoked strong feelings in me.  There’s the love I felt at Lake Louise and the plain of the six glaciers trail.  But even that changed for me.  It is easy to feel love, exhilaration in the bright sun or in the morning and early afternoon.  As the sun gets closer to setting, more somber feelings take hold, as they did when we retraced our steps back toward Lake Louise in the dusk.

Lake Louise in the dusk, Banff National Park, Canada

Lake Louise in the dusk, September 2012, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

The beauty of being in nature is that I am faced with myself by virtue of experiencing the earth in a direct way.  The land or ocean speaks, bringing forth emotions from love and awe, to unease and fear.

Full moon over Val Marie, Saskatchewan

Full moon over Val Marie, Saskatchewan, August 2011

My times in natural settings at night have sometimes brought me fear of the dark, the unknown and the sounds of animals I could not identify.  But I have also had profound feelings of peace.  One such time was in Val Marie, Saskatchewan, a tiny town on the edge of Grasslands National Park.  There, awakening in the night, I was in the midst of a quiet that I had never experienced.  And there are the times I’ve looked at stars on dark, clear nights in the countryside that elicit a sense of awe common to many people who have shared this experience.

Old grain elevator, Val Marie, Saskatchewan, 2011

Old grain elevator–evening in Val Marie, Saskatchewan, Aug. 2011

Conifers in Algonquin Park, October 2011

Conifers and their reflections in Bat Lake, Algonquin Park, Ontario, October 2011

I’ve also experienced a change in feelings toward aspects of nature in my 40 plus years in Canada.  When I first arrived, I had certainly been among conifers at some points in my life, but not to the degree that is offered when travelling north in Ontario.  Though I could see their beauty when I was young, they felt austere and elicited loneliness in me.  This has changed dramatically for me over the decades.  It’s not something I willed to happen, it just has.  Now I feel love for the same spruce, fir and pine that I felt such unease towards.

Conifers and their reflections, Algonquin Park, 2011

Conifers and their reflections in Bat Lake, Algonquin Park, Ontario, October 2011

Lake Louise, dusk, Sept. 2012

Lake Louise, reflections at dusk, with conifers, Sept. 2012, Banff National Park, Alberta

Beyond myself, it seems to me that our attitudes toward nature have greatly shaped our relationship with the natural world, too often in the destructive ways we are familiar with.  I wonder if humans could learn to rest easier with our own feelings, whether we could view nature differently.  Perhaps we could begin to view the natural world less as something to be dominated or feared, but as part of the life we all share on earth.  Perhaps we could learn to know that we are part of nature and nature, part of us.  In that sense, care for nature is care for ourselves.

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2 Comments on “Feeling in Nature”

  1. Beautiful sentiments.


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