Oh, this living in nature!
There’s this romantic view that nature is all flowers and fairies and field mice sipping nettle tea out of acorn cups.
I’d like to say, nature isn’t like that at all.
Out here where I live: mostly forest and field, surrounded by more forest and field, there’s a lot of nature all the time, and it demands respect.
The other night, we drove back late from picking my daughter up from a choir concert. It was after eleven by the time we reached the old ranch gate.
There, in the tall grasses just 15 feet away, stood two young deer, their eyes blinking red in the car lights, and their ears looking very much too big for their bodies. They stood in full attention, quivering and electric, as the car crunched on the gravel.
I rolled the car window down to speak to them, thoughts of joy and love in my mind: the night sky, bright with stars. The spring breeze. The waving grasses. Everything, so soft and lovely. It was nature: idyllic, peaceful, gentle.
And then in one great blurring moment, a bobcat sprang from the grasses.
He was a big cat, 80 pounds or more, with markings that glinted in the headlights. He leapt toward the deer in the space of one second, and we saw his powerful body rolling, springing, bursting from hidden crouch to full extension, as the deer bolted, the bobcat hunted.
It all happened in one second, maybe two.
We sat in the car with the window rolled down, the night air filling our lungs as we tried to catch our breath.
Nature. It’s always surprising. You think it’s one way, then you get out in it and you find it’s not that way at all.
It’s much bigger than we think.
It’s much stronger.
Our place in the world, when we’re in nature.
We’re not as important as we think.
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