Celebrating reverence for nature

I’ve always felt a kind of reverence for nature – a deep respect, love, and honor for its awesome beauty and the spiritual connection it provides for me. Thirty-two years ago my boss at Wildlife Camp in the mountains of N.C. used to talk to the campers about three R’s of camp: respect, responsibility, and reverence. I always loved listening to her explain the term reverence to those pre-adolescents.

Keith and I were invited by a new friend to paddle from New Pass to Mound Key and back today. We accepted the invitation, and six of us launched canoe and kayaks early this morning, paddled the bay waters for an hour and a half, hiked Mound Key, and returned. The weather was perfect – sunny, just warm enough, and calm. We saw birds, shell animals, stingrays, and lots of cool plants. On the return trip we even encountered a pod of manatees swimming, playing, just being.

During the trip, each person in our group took turns exclaiming how beautiful the day was and what a fabulous excursion we were having. We laughed and chatted, pointed out bald eagles, watched ducks and ospreys, discovered cool tropical plants, and enjoyed each moment for what it was. But the thing that struck me most about the whole trip was how each person in our group, at one point or another, revealed through words or actions their sincere reverence for nature, for Mother Earth, for the gift of being able to be out and enjoy the wind and water and creatures that inhabit them.

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That reverence comes from experiencing a personal connection with nature, from understanding that we are a part of and connected to all that surrounds us, and from taking time to relax, enjoy, and appreciate all of its beauty. Today, as we paddled, I could sense each person’s reverence for and connection to the natural world. I could see it in their faces and feel their energy and joy all day long. At one point on our return paddle, one of our group members, Leo, said, “I feel bad for all the people who decided to stay home and sit on the couch today. They missed out on all of this!

I agree, Leo. It was a day to revere…

So, today, I celebrate reverence for nature in all her glory. (And new friends – thanks, Klaus!)

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