On the other hand, your temporary amnesia could result from tunnel vision – looking down or straight ahead instead of gazing all around, or just plain ole impatience preventing you from observing and appreciating the world around you.
My husband taught me to look at and truly see the marvels around me. I’ll never forget his lesson on appreciating nature’s beauty:
When you look at this tree, what do you see? Leaves? Branches? Bark?
There’s more to it than just the obvious things you expect. Greta, I want you to take a closer look and actually SEE the tree.
Look at the patterns in the bark. Touch it. Feel the rough texture. Use your finger to follow the ridges in the bark. There’s a pattern. See and feel how it bows out to either side of that bump. That must be an old injury. Over time, the wound healed, and the bark covered it up.
Up here, a branch came off close to the trunk. It healed around the outside of the empty socket but left a hole in the center. A bird or squirrel must have made a home there and left some bits of its old nest behind.
Now, step back and look at the branches. Notice how their shapes and sizes vary; no two are alike. This one has a dip where it goes around that larger, older branch. And it’s the same with the leaves. They all have a similar shape but are distinctively different.
This tree is an individual, a unique life. It looks different and is different from the neighboring trees. This magnificent work of nature’s art adapted to whatever happened to it over the years and survived. If it could talk, I’m sure the tree would have an exciting story to tell about all it’s seen and experienced.
So remember, when you’re out here in the woods, everything you see is special and deserves to be regarded with our utmost appreciation and admiration….
That was nearly 40 years ago. Robert is no longer with us, but his words are still just as valid today as they were then. I can no longer look at a tree without seeing his finger beside mine, tracing the lumps and bumps of the rough exterior. I still hear his voice reminding me that we need to show respect to Mother Nature and all her lovely creations.
Robert got me started loving and appreciating our natural world, and I’ll never stop. Over the years, I’ve seen how greed, ignorance, laziness, and disrespect have brought about severe ecological damage. Restoring what we’ve lost and conserving what we have left is important to me, and I hope important to you, too. Let’s all do what we can to help Mother Nature. Let’s do it for future generations, and if you have or had someone like Bob in your life, do it for them as well.