I speak of it now because when I lived in the city, I didn't really pay attention to nature and what I was waking up to each morning. What took my attention was whether I would make it to work on time, what the traffic would be like. Was the car going to start? The level of my eyes never drifted farther from the head level of the thousands of people who started their work day each morning balancing a cup of coffee and a brief case.
Living in the country forces you to look about. You don't need to close your curtains, as there is no one around who can see inside. You want to look outside to see if the deer have come through on their morning forage. It's spring and you might catch sight of a new flock of migratory birds flying across the clear blue sky. The first robin shows itself pecking between the new sprouts of green grass.
Driving with no buildings, busy intersections and other obstacles to block your vision, gives way to countryside views and highlights that spread for miles. Any journey from a country home makes you look about, if anything, just to ‘see’ what is around you. The foothills of Alberta offer the most breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains in the fall, winter and spring. Agricultural fields pattern the landscape with different patches of colour in the summertime. Pass a wetland and you never know what gifts nature will present to you on any given day.
The following are just a few of the awesome gifts Mother Nature has presented me while living in the country that I’d like to share:
- A fawn lying like a lawn ornament amid the bushes.
- A palm-sized toad who returns each year to catch insects by our entrance way.
- A dancing display from a beautiful male bluebird while he woos a female outside my office window.
- A wing feather dropped from the sky by a passing bald eagle – picked up and cherished as the gift it was meant to be.
- The hunting fox that jumps and with needle-like precision pushes his nose into the one-foot hard crusted snow to pluck out a mouse.
- Calving and foaling seasons. Watching the new babies with their caring mothers, praying the temperature outside will not dip too low.
- The three wolves that showed themselves eleven years ago in the coulee. It was like watching a National Geographic episode for the short time they ventured out into the clearing.
- The several individual black bear sightings and the one cougar sighting. Exciting but scary.
- Being able to write the date and viewing location in my “Birds of Alberta” book every time I come across a new bird that we haven’t seen in our area.
- The flock of pure white snow geese heading north in a perfect V formation. The starkness of white on blue will forever be imprinted on my mind.
- The wetland a couple of miles from our house where I slow down every time I pass, as you never know who it might be sheltering and providing food for at any given time on any given day.
Patricia L. Atchison
Writing & Publishing Blog: www.aboutwritingandpublishing.com