When Scarlett (the border collie that lives with me) and I go for walks we always take the same route. We are fortunate enough to live near two ponds and a forest. We walk in these places so frequently that I know them intimately. I notice when a plant has suddenly sprouted, when the ducks have changed their patterns, and every time they mark a new tree to cut it down. I'm sure you have places like this of your own, but you may not think them as full of nature as my own (although I would strongly disagree). Maybe it's your front lawn, the parking lot in the mall, or the drive to work or school. Usually when I go to my familiar places it is sunny. It's been raining a lot recently, and it was interesting to see just how different the same places are when the weather changes.
In the rain the trees look heavier and greener. The grass looks stronger. You can't hear anything outside of your hood. It's as if you're in a different place, like tinted glasses have been put over your eyes. I was even more aware of it today when I walked around the pond at night. I normally peer into the forest beyond excitedly, wondering if I'll say a blue jay or snake in the grass. Today I walked right in the middle of the path, trying to stare down the shadows. The trees were not welcoming, they created darkness. Did they create it though, or did I?
When it rains it's only a change in weather, but it feels like a change in place. When it gets dark it's only a change in light, but it still feels like a different place all over again. Is it that we are so used to things one way that when we see slight changes we think they change? Or are we the ones changing? When it's raining am I more aware? When it's dark am I more afraid?
Maybe we can even admit that we're the ones changing, but when I talk about this tomorrow will my vocabulary reflect that? There is so much meaning in the way we shape our words. Will I say it was dark when I walked last night, or will I say I was more afraid when I walked last night? Are we subconsciously making nature the erratic constantly changing thing? And if so, what does that say about us, how we were raised, or better yet how we form relationships with nature?
Finally, does that mean we think we are not a part of the places we visit?