Did Lockdown Spring Bring a Lasting Connection to Nature?

Some of this data confuses me, but the part that stands out as most important is the “noticing.”. I often refer to it as nature immersion, as opposed to nature visiting.

Finding Nature

A blog with Dr Carly Butler.

Many of us found a friend in nature during the first lockdown in Spring 2020 but new data suggests this was just a short-term relationship for some. The latest data from Natural England’s People and Nature Survey shows that levels of nature connectedness fell by 25% between April 2020 and April 2021, meaning fewer people reported feeling a part of nature.

It’s not that people have stopped visiting nature, as the proportion of people accessing green and natural spaces grew during lockdown and has stayed higher. As lockdowns eased, it’s likely that people took the opportunity to meet with others and engage in outdoor activities. But it seems that the boost to ‘noticing nature’ in the quiet times of April and May 2020 has diminished. The data shows a 13% drop in the percentage of people reporting they are taking time to notice and…

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Surprise Peace of Life in Morning Light and by Fox

I can contemplate peace endlessly and never know it as much as when it takes me by surprise.

It’s a beech tree in a wild blueberry patch at the east side of the front yard.  The tree and I have a long history, as with everything in the picture.  Everything.  Long.  Deep.  Immersive relationship history.  Yet on this mid-June morning, they all greeted me as if for the first time.  I’ll just share the new part of the history that began at that moment.

I don’t feel that there is anything especially fantastic about what I saw.  It was the peace it wrought in me, and I’ll never be able to share that except as a mention, with this souvenir of it.

It was damned silly of me to rush back into the house for the camera.  When I got back out there, the light had changed, as rising suns do, and kept changing by the second, and none of it was as beautiful as when I first saw it.

This picture can never be more than a souvenir, especially because it is not a picture of the peace that caught me by surprise when that light and its verdant subjects first poured themselves upon me, into me.

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George the Prophet

There were no official political parties when they wrote the Constitution.  It was not a negotiation undertaken by political parties.  It was an agreement undertaken by the people.

Below are crucially important and prescient excerpts from President George Washington’s Farewell Address in 1796.

I wrote some comments that I may post another time. For now, I’ll shut up and let George do all the talking. If you listen, you may wonder why nobody told you the so-called Father of the Nation was a profound prophet, as if looking right at our generation when he wrote this.

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Been Chickadeed

After the season’s last snow event in April, while pushing snow out of the path from the house to the shed, my attention was taken by several black-capped chickadees frolicking among the branches of the beech and maple trees straddling the wild blueberry patch.  My path goes through the patch, between those two trees.

black-capped chickadee e-bird site 200x150

Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus. Click the picture for the full screen image at e-bird.org, with their report on its natural history, sounds, habits, etc.

I had been dragging my feet, frustrated with something on my mind that I can’t remember now.  Doing “snow moving meditation” (or “snow clearing yoga”) was helpful, as usual, but this time it was challenged by weariness that slowed me down and made the frustration worse.

I took a break to watch these winged, chatty attention snatchers.  I rested one arm on top of the snow shovel handle, my hand extended away from me.  One of the birds flew close by.  I waited to see if they would grace me with a closer visit, having heard they will sometimes land on a person.  It never happened to me in all the times I spent with chickadees.

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Sixteen Years This Winter

For Nuala with gratitude

That’s Nuala’s Maple in the header image above.  (For those who missed it in an earlier post, Nuala is pronounced NOO-lah.)

Tuesday Afternoon (4:56) Link to video

Tuesday Afternoon
by The Moody Blues

Tuesday afternoon
I’m just beginning to see
Now I’m on my way
It doesn’t matter to me
Chasing the clouds away

Something calls to me
The trees are drawing me near
I’ve got to find out why
Those gentle voices I hear
Explain it all with a sigh

I’m looking at myself, reflections of my mind
It’s just the kind of day to leave myself behind
So gently swaying through the fairy-land of love
If you’ll just come with me and see the beauty of

Tuesday afternoon
Tuesday afternoon

Tuesday afternoon
I’m just beginning to see
Now I’m on my way
It doesn’t matter to me
Chasing the clouds away

Something calls to me
The trees are drawing me near
I’ve got to find out why
Those gentle voices I hear
Explain it all with a sigh


Om (5:50) Link to video

Om by The Moody Blues

The rain is on the roof
Hurry high, butterfly
As clouds roll past my head
I know why the skies all cry

Om. Om. Heaven. Om

The Earth turns slowly round
Far away, the distant sound
Is with us everyday
Can you hear what it says?

Om. Om. Heaven. Om

The rain is on the roof
Hurry high, butterfly
As clouds roll past my head
I know why the skies all cry

Om. Om. Heaven. Om

Nuala’s Painting

In my essay, Angel Wing; An Illustrated Meditation on Nature Immersion, I mentioned Morris Mountain, with a picture of part of it.

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve heard of Nuala, the non-resident Balsamean. She has been learning watercolor painting. She liked Morris Mountain enough to invest in it. Below is the photo, and her painted rendition, which is framed under glass in my bathroom with two old favorite photos. Thanks again, Nuala.

I’m glad to have another original piece in this little house.  I have a massive collection of photos of art in all media throughout the ages on my computer, but very little original art in the house.  There are a few nice prints that my parents gave me ages ago.  There are some framed photos, all mine except one forest scene from a friend.

The dominant piece is a painting by another watercolor student, Vivian Smithwick, that she framed and gave me as a gift 43 years ago in Portsmouth, Virginia.  Still in the same frame.  I doubt she’s still painting.  If she is, she would have to be well over a hundred years old.  She left me better than she found me.

Untitled Watercolor by Vivian Smithwick, 1976

Now I have a second original painting, from the early works of the only person who can ever be a non-resident Balsamean.  If she made the picture with crayons and the skill of a three year old, I’d cherish it as much or more.  (No offense to three year olds.)

You may think a bathroom is an odd home for a cherished watercolor, but think more.  It hangs in the most conspicuous place of all the walls in the house.  It is above the primary bath towel bar, across from the toilet, beside the shower.  It gets a lot of viewer “hits.”  No, bathroom moisture won’t hurt it.  It’s sealed under glass.

I’ll insert the picture below as intensive practice for learning not to care what people think of me, for Nuala’s sake:

Nuala’s picture is the one on the left. I’m patting myself on the back for getting a shot in such a small room that includes everything I included in my description of the picture’s location.

I am not jaded by all the years of looking at these two other pictures, old photos.  They are more than pictures.  They are moments, situations, experiences, people.

The new painting is all of that plus relationships with nature and with a person, the longest sustained, continually positive and productive human relationship of any kind I’ve had in my adult life.

Marvel of Modern Science

TIME OUT FROM COVID FOR CLASSICS

I don’t know why I can’t watch this without laughing, my also being a marvel of modern science.  This is a 20-second clip from a five-minute video:

Link to the video: https://youtu.be/dIzw6KKZLgA

Doctor:  Do you think there’s anything wrong with your mind really?
Randall: Not a thing, Doc.  I’m a goddam marvel of modern science.

From One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) for which Louise Fletcher (Nurse Ratched) & Jack Nicholson (R.P. McMurphy) won Oscars.  You knew she had ratcheted up the Academy’s attention by ten clicks with her strangulation face …

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It’s one world NOW, huh?

“Dance” by Henri Matisse, 1909

I never paid much attention to this Matisse painting until recently when I added it to my screen saver collection. I now see that Matisse’s dancers are all women. Good. That’s the stuff of a one-world mind, because men are feudal. Women are the more evolved half of humanity. I’m not kidding.

In a pandemic, everyone is responsible for everyone else in the world. Everyone fights for everyone to win. If they don’t do it together, it cannot be done. The virus will continue to flourish. We walk and stand together or fall down together. Frankly, that’s a scary thought.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON’T ALL WASH OUR HANDS. Photo: Spencer Tunick Arrow To Washington, NYC, 1995

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Australia Black Summer Untold? And Slicing Songs.

I promise that if you stay with this post to the end, you won’t be sorry.  If you start feeling sorry, feel free to just jump to the end!

I want to follow-up on my post of January 3, 2020, I Am Australian Today.  I’m concerned that it will be forgotten because the news media have moved on to the latest crises.  I’m not letting go of it.  I want to remember that we ARE STILL all burning together.  Watch what happens when Antarctica starts dropping whole worlds of ice into the ocean, which is coming soon to a planet near you.  Have you heard?  Greenland is pouring ice melt water into the ocean at a rate equivalent to the mass of 2,000 elephants per second!  No kidding.  I saw an ice expert who studies Greenland say it.

I owe it to myself to not let rapacious news feeds — including the best of them on public broadcast services — feed on my attention as though it were theirs to consume, not mine to apply.  And there is no more important news than the planet’s ability to sustain life (as we know it and depend on it).

I’m not certain that humanity really should continue to exist.  Maybe it’s time we went the way of the dinosaurs (although they did not kill their own world).  Fine.  But we don’t have the right to destroy the world for all the other species.

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