Behold the forest: Shrub – flower – tree
Many will look - But few will see
Pine – Aspen – Fir - Schematically intertwined
Endless plant variety - It boggles the mind
But who knows this? Who will understand?
And take time to grasp - The great master plan
Recreate in the car - Pay park entrance fees
Whizz on through - It’s nothing but trees
But there are animals about - Your eyes must be quick
To see takes patience - It’s really no trick
But seeing the beasts - Is just the start
The overall scheme - Is the very best part
You must look and look - This I firmly believe
But how many times - Must we look to perceive?
To perceive what is there – And not just rely
On the words of others - But see with our eye!
Developing appreciation (Is this ode’s thrust)
of EVERTHING in nature - That is a must!
And help us cope with those - Lord help us please!
That can’t see the forest - Because of the trees
Look quick to see Black Bear cubs at the base of a pine.
Many look, but how many see! Nature is very much a “now you see it, now you don’t affair.” Emerson says that: “Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it.” You have to train yourself to look, to absorb, and to keep your eyes open. I’m often asked: “How did you get that bird picture? I’ve never seen that one around here.” Obviously, those persons have yet to learn to become aware of what is close at hand. When taking a summer ecology seminar, I acquired an interest in watching birds. But a strange thing happened as a result – my eyes became open to all the lifeforms, animal and plant, that were available to be seen and to be learned about. The world took on a different, fantastic hue.
I always told my High School students when we were on field trips: “If you see three, there are really five; and if you see five, there are really eleven.” Interestingly, they would then look more intently, and sure enough, I would be proven right. It became a joke with them. Once, at a high spot in the mountains, we could look down and get a excellent view of things below us. It was then that we noticed some deer just off a hiking trail. Some hikers came up the trail and walked right past the deer without seeing them. They were very close, but unobservant of what was there to experience – they were just looking at the ground.
My wife is an expert at finding things. I tell her that she needs to go with me when I am walking with my camera, because she is “my eyes.” Once when I was intently “scoping” an area for possible pictures, I saw this amazing lizard (pictured) hidden on some tree bark. He was small and practically invisible. He blended in so well, that I would never have seen him if I hadn’t been looking so diligently for photos. What an interesting observation of an interesting animal. He would periodically puff out his red throat like a balloon. By becoming aware of him, I got up close and the photo makes him look much larger than he really was.
An Amazing Demonstration
Have you ever noticed a penny on the ground? Did you stop and pick it up? Many times I’ve stood by my school room and beheld a penny on the hallway floor. Students would invariably pass over and not give it a second glance. They paid no attention to something they attached little value to. After a time, not wanting it to clutter the floor, I would rescue the coin and put it in a proper place. Where little value is ascribed, little observation occurs and poor understanding results.
When in the Registered Angus Cattle business, I cherished every cow in the herd. I could look at them lined up at the manger, from their back ends, and identify every individual and give a summation of each one’s traits. To others they all looked alike. But I had a deep love for Angus cattle and therefore noticed things easily. At a Utah State Fair, strolling with my wife through the pavilion that housed art exhibits, we came upon a lady’s sculpture display. She had an excellent one of a bovine bull. She had titled it “Angus”. Though the workmanship was very good, the title did not fit the subject. It was obvious that she had little real understanding of cattle. Wanting to know my thoughts, I was unable to convey to her that “feel” that was needed to have made the piece more authentic. An explanation that would be unnecessary to one absorbed with the subject matter.
My wife and I have developed an unbridled love for the natural world. Our eyes have been opened as a result and there has been a “snow-balling” effect. The more you notice, the greater the ability to notice becomes. When showing others slides of local birds and other life-forms, the comment always surfaces: “I’ve never seen any of those. Where have they been hiding?” It’s amazing – when the “covers” come off the eyes, things appear where they never were before. I’ve witnessed this marvelous event. New vistas of excitement, knowledge, and understanding results. Understanding breeds fondness. Understanding increases as fondness deepens.
Two people with affection for each other, see things in the other person which the average observer cannot comprehend. Why is this? Because there is no one who can view things with as acute accuracy as one who “looks through the eyes of love”!
(A favorite herd bull of mine)