Today was one of those stay inside and huddle days. Lots of pain. I won’t bore you with the details. The cloudy greyness and chill didn’t help.
I read, dozed, watched TV, played games. I did the things I needed to do – take my daughter school, drink some coffee so I could take my vitamins, do the bit of housework that needed doing.
And then I lazed, drinking tea.
Until my daughter came home and needed a ride to a friend’s home. As I was driving home, I noticed the time and pulled into a small park I frequent. It’s by a pond and a lake (well, it’s supposed to be a lake but it’s been drained for the past two+ years for repairs and dredging). The golf cart path cuts through it, crossing the channel between the pond and the lake. It’s one of my favorite places to go to walk, take pictures, and just be out in nature.
So I wrapped my scarf tighter around my neck and my sweater tighter around me, got out of my car, making sure to lock it, and wandered. I noticed a police officer had pulled in, also facing towards the setting sun. Multiple people walked, jogged, biked, drove by. A few stopped, at least for a few moments, to look at the sky. Look at the wildlife. No one was loud or noisy. There were no loud conversations. No blasting music. No loud vehicles.
It was peacefully full of the sounds of nature. The water flowing from the pond to the lake where it becomes a small waterfall. Ducks and geese chattering and arguing with one another as they start to settle for the night.
I watched as a heron circled overhead before settling in the tall grasses. A hawk or falcon flew by – too dark for me to tell for certain, but recognizing the silhouette. And I know there are hawks in the area, at least red-tail hawks. The ducks and geese started moving towards the edges of the water, or flew from the pond to the lake and vice versa. Something swam in the pond, not water fowl, not fish, not turtle. Too far away to see much more in the twilight than a small brown head and the movement of a body behind it. An otter maybe.
And then there was the sunset itself. At first I despaired as I watched the sun sink behind the trees, that even with clouds in the sky, the hoped for colors wouldn’t appear. Bit by golden bit the sun disappeared completely from view. Slowly the golden hue rose up into the sky.
I turned and caught the last bit of sunlight as it lit the treetops across the pond.
More and more gold appeared as the blues faded then darkened. While the air was still on the ground, it wasn’t on high, as I watched the clouds shift and morph and move across the darkening sky. The gold became darker and oranges and pinks joined in. The clouds and colors reflected in the lake and pools of water along its edges. As it got later, more and more purples appeared. I tried to catch as much as I could, switching between camera apps and views. And then I just stopped. And looked. My camera in my pocket. Until at the very last when the clouds became a deep stunning magenta hue.
As the last little bit of color disappeared in to the dark of night, I went back to my car feeling so much more alive, more me, than I had when I first got there. I even forgot about my pain (although once I settled in for the drive home, it reared its ugly head again).
It’s nature, all of it. The water, the soil, the sky, flora and fauna. Observing and being surrounded by it until it refills some parts of me that I hadn’t even realized were empty. I have always had access to nature, whether in wide open spaces like my grandparents ranch, or in small city parks while away at university. Walking through forests, sitting by the river that ran along our property when I was a teen, sitting on the edge of a lake or bay or seashore, standing on cliffs watching the sun sink into the Pacific, driving country roads and seeing new vistas, watching various animals as they live their own lives, listening to the sounds of animals and insects unseen, watching the stars and moon appear and wheel across the sky until the sun rises and they disappear from my view again. Even being caught in a sudden rain storm can fill me with joy and make me smile like a loon.