Soft Wild

The other day on my hike I started taking pictures of wildflowers. Most of them had tiny blooms. I love how beauty can range from miniscule to cosmic. 

But I really started thinking about the word “wild”. Wild and wildlife conjure images of tigers, hyenas, coyotes and bears. Roaming, hungry, savage and untamed.  

Wildflowers? They don’t reflect any of those adjectives. This side of the wild is delicate, beautiful, intricate and small. 

Yet they are wild. They grow in meadows and along woodland paths.  Yet they also grow on highway verges, rocky cliffsides, even cracks in the sidewalk. 

The soft side of wild is defined by beauty, peace and persistence. The same strength and resilience that an animal needs to survive in the wild is represented by these fragile, lovely flowers.  

Playing Crows

A few years ago, I was sitting in my backyard. It was summertime, and I noticed the four neighborhood crows wheeling around in the sky. Then the largest one cawed, and they all flew into a single tree.  

Crows aren’t usually that interesting, so I was about to turn away when one launched from a high branch. It flew straight toward a powerline pole. It dove, then banked an extreme turn around the pole. Churning its wings, it flew back up to the branch, greeted by a cacophony from its fellows. 

Then, one by one, each did the same. They continued this for a while, and I was enraptured. Their cawing, usually grating, became the sounds of encouragement and enthusiasm.  

They must be playing, I thought at first. And I think they were. But I also think that they were doing drills, practicing difficult maneuvers that would be useful in tight forest spaces.  

I gained a great respect for crows that day, and the experience stripped away the biases often associated with these sophisticated carrion birds.  

Nature’s POWer

The emphasis on “POW” in the title is a bit of a joke, but also reveals what I want to say about Nature’s profound strength.

This picture shows that so effectively. Yes, this sprout did not shoot up with a comic book “POW!!!” Instead, what is revealed is the slow, implacable ability for this single green plant to break through a layer of asphalt. What a profound example of how persistently following the path of growth makes a being nearly irresistible.

Thoreau and the Taoists both talk about this strength. Thoreau wanted “to travel the only path I can, and that on which no power can resist me.” Asphalt is poured so its elements melt together and harden. They should stop a mere plant from sprouting. But that plant is doing what it must, what Nature demands of it, and no mere human concoction is going to stop its growth.

Today I am going to think with my sprout mind, and I am going to find the barriers that are stopping my growth. Then I’m going to find the natural path to overcome them.

We follow nature

Last weekend we got about 4 inches of rain overnight. When I went on a hike, and saw what’s in this video, I thought “Funny how the water followed the path.”

Who follows who?

My mind immediately alerted me to a potential fallacy. A “which came first” idea presented itself. Isn’t it more likely that water made this path? Rain overflow creates little streams, especially in the spring. Some are freshets, have a relatively deep bed, and can run for months if its a wet season. Not great for a path.

But a lot of time there are washes for when a big storm overflows the system of ponds and streams and rivulets, and more water runs off. As water always does, it tends to gather and find a way to flow down. I’m thinking these are the path makers: yes they get wet, but only briefly, and dry fairly quickly, which means we can walk on them most of the time.

Humans are smart, and you can also say we’re either thrifty or a bit lazy. It is far easier to follow a path given to us by nature than to have to hack a new path through its bushes, trees and tangles.

So my new thought is: “Look how we follow that path of water.”

Back for #Tankatuesday

Haven’t written in a bit, but I’m back with another #tankstuesday

This one is an actual tanka, 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic form.

I am wandering 

Even though I know this trail. 

The green buds are new. 

Dressing the familiar in 

Bright and renewing beauty. 

Hope you like it! Join in here.