Yesterday morning I skipped church services to seek a possible Long-eared Owl. Someone on the Colorado Birds mailing list had reported seeing one (or possibly a more common Great Horned Owl) the day before just 15 miles northwest of my apartment in south Boulder.
I have never seen a Long-earned Owl, so of course as soon as I heard about it I went looking. I didn’t find any owls.
But while I was looking in vain for an owl, I did get some adequate shots of our most common raptor, the Red-tailed Hawk. Later, I saw two more.
Click on the picture above to enlarge
Eventually, as I wended my way back home, I passed right by the trailhead at Lefthand Valley. Since I hadn’t been there for years, I hiked the trail for about half an hour.
I stopped then only because the trail was so incredibly muddy that I had already accumulated a couple of pounds of mud on my boots and my hike had ceased to be fun. At the same time, being out in nature had so invigorated me that I felt at one with the world.
When I returned home and washed the mud from my boots, I told my friend Sharon that I had got “my nature fix.”
I had never used that phrase before, but that’s what I felt like yesterday and what I usually feel like when I come back from the real — natural — world.
Serendipitously, this evening I picked up a copy of a book I had borrowed from the local library that a correspondent had recommended 10 days ago. The author is Richard Louv, and the title of the book is The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder. After reading just a few chapters, I could feel the book resonating so strongly with me that I bought a copy for my Kindle Touch.
I am anything but a Luddite. I support myself by writing articles on the Internet and by advertising on my Website. I enjoy online research and communicating by email. I own three computers (two of which I use every day and one a relict that I bought in 1983) and have three other devices that can connect online (an iPad, an iPod Touch, and a Kindle Touch). I own four cameras and nine camera lenses. I read many books on my iPad and Kindle Touch. Yet nothing gives me greater pleasure than being outside in nature.
Richard Louv is definitely onto something when he writes about our “nature-deficit disorder.” In my life I act upon my agreement with him that we need to balance our reliance on increasingly powerful technology with living in (not just with) nature. To reconnect with nature we don’t have to climb the highest peaks or dive under the oceans. A few minutes each day out of doors is very much like restoring our souls.
So, please get out. And while you are home please read The Nature Principle.