I was thinking about something tonight. If I could see the sky through clouds, a slender crescent moon would be hanging in it, like a delicate necklace on the perfect complexion of night.
But not tonight. I have the clouds, and the soft sound of the tree frogs. They were louder in early spring, but I can still hear them if I open my windows. I think about the idea of holding nature in such wonder. If I had always lived surrounded by countryside, their song would be as mundane to me as the sound of traffic.
So many of us think of “nature” as this place, like a magical theme park, that I feel apart from, instead of entwined with. Tree frogs, like magic, are singing out in the field for me and my children. It feels special and different and new.
I think that I must have gotten awfully far away from the wild for a very long time, to look so forward to sundown and the sounds of the night. If I had never gotten caught up in the urban world, artificial light, artificial people, and concrete, I suppose sounds from the trees and fields wouldn’t seem so very magical.
So then I wonder, was it a good thing, that I was so caught up in decades of being inside my own head and just
trying to survive the world? Maybe I could not have truly appreciated the peace of the green world unless it was taken from me for a while (or I set it aside for a while. My own fault.)
I wonder if it will be like that with the rest of society too. We have gone so long forgetting that we and nature are the same thing, that when we encounter the simplest thing- a sunset, the sprouting leaves on a birch tree, a hawk, or a muddy creek flowing fast from spring rains under the viaduct, we can grow entranced by it.
If we have gotten far enough from the natural world, maybe we can turn to it sometime, even by accident, and finally appreciate it enough to preserve it, like a jewel we found in great grandmother’s dresser drawer in an attic we forgot about.
Maybe our alienation had to happen, for us to remember what treasure we have ignored, and crave to grow close to it again. I don’t know about any of that for certain. I just know that after a long day of anxiety or despair in the world of men, there’s the sunset, and deep shadows, the sound of an airplane that I will ignore, and the tree frogs.