Living in the Woods...
Wisdom of the Ages
Doreyl Ammons Cain
Since cavemen and women first rubbed flint together and discovered the miracle of fire and squeezed berries to paint their stories on cave walls, nature has inspired a sense of awe. Every natural event had some special meaning to native cultures and was carefully honored. Their only education about life depended on knowledge of the elements. This has remained true throughout our human history until the advent of the mechanical age and since then has diminished. Yet the wisdom that can be gleaned from nature is endless.
In the five years I’ve lived in the woods at Nature’s Home Preserve I’ve learned more than my thirty years living in the city. The unimaginable diversity of living creatures and growing plants on the earth astonishes me. When I bend down close to the ground and study just a tiny spot, millions of bits of life lie before me. I turn to the sky and see brilliantly plumed birds, butterflies and inserts taking care of their business on a clear spring day. In my “Sibley’s Guide to Birds” book there are 537 pages of birds just in our North American continent. In Newcombs’s “Wildflower Guide” 463 pages of wildflower variations just barely covers the Northeastern part of North America. It would take thousands of pages to show most of North American wildflowers and a lot of those flowers grow here in the Appalachian Mountains.
This spring I feel overwhelmed with the beauty of just my little part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The flowering trees cover the mountain sides with every shade of color and the air with a sweet fragrance to be envied by perfume makers. Purple Violets, pink & burgundy Trillium, snowy white Hobblebush, magenta Spring Beauty and bright green “fiddleheads” of ferns carpet the ground. No wonder these mountains are home to so many artists and writers; we all attempt to describe the beauty with words and paint.
Nature teaches patience. Everything worthwhile takes time to develop and grow to it’s full potential. Nature’s cycles of grow and regeneration give us stability and reliability in a world speeding ahead recklessly. Our work at Nature’s Home Preserve seems to move with the cycles of natural change and evolution. We’ve put a new road in to access parts of the Preserve that weren’t easy to visit. The road is opening a whole new area for others to live at Nature’s Home. I am painting a new sign at our entrance in the style of Native American cave paintings which features horses, birds, buffalo and other symbols of an ancient life-style which honored nature.
Living in the woods keeps me aware of the timeless wisdom that permeates the forests. I’ll patiently live here learning how to capture some of it’s revitalizing harmony.
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