One of the rewards of getting older is a keen consciousness that life is racing by. You know that moments, once lost, are gone forever, never to be experienced in exactly the same way again.
Always the same, but always changing, the seasons beckon us to slow down, to savor their gifts and to bask in the gentle comforts they offer.
The spring peepers are one of those pleasures that can be all too easy to miss. But this year, I decided to enjoy them to the full.
We had particularly beautiful weather this weekend.
The red maples are blooming, the spicebush will be soon, and the ground exhales the moist, cool scent of spring.
It’s peeper season.
So just after sundown on Sunday, I bundled up against the evening chill, mug of tea in hand, and settled down to enjoy the concert from our patio.
Now, I’d had a busy week. My husband had had a busy week. Tempers frayed once or twice over things that normally don’t faze us.
I felt a bit bruised, metaphorically speaking.
But it didn’t take long for the frogs to work their magic.
The light faded until all that was left was a faint peachiness along the western horizon and then even that was gone.
I tilted my chair back, the better to watch the sky as the twilight dissolved into darkness. Treetops were lace on velvet, black on black, with diamond stars the sole points of brilliance.
The breeze tickled my nose and set last year’s oak leaves a-rustling – and all the while the peepers sang their little hearts out.
It is a happy sound, an ode to life and hope and spring.
It woke up the parts of me that needed awakening and lulled the parts that needed to be soothed.
My whole body relaxed, my whole outlook was refreshed.
I felt like me again.
The Conclusion of the Matter
Although I enjoy science, it’s a little bit funny to me that studies have been done proving that being out in the natural world is good for us.
Has that ever truly been in question?
I think back to my childhood and how adventuresome it felt, at eight years old, to walk through a neck-high sea of cinnamon ferns. The delight of watching lightning bugs in the summer, smelling crunchy leaves underfoot in autumn, listening to the wind howling around the eaves in winter.
No scientist needed to convince me. I had already felt and experienced what the research bore out.
Immersing ourselves in nature, even if only for a little while, replenishes us. As we experience that, our desire to preserve and protect it only grows.
And while policymakers debate, we don’t have to wait. We can make a difference in our own backyards right now.
But that’s enough from me!
What are your favorite outdoor memories?