Dog Days of Fall

Its November. The weather here is stuck in Summer mode. Matching or breaking previously set record highs. Almost daily thunderstorms. Yard work really is a chore, either too hot or too wet. A/C runs continually, tea won’t stay cold, mop the floor just to drag in a fresh coat of mud. Did I mention its November?

On the bright side I don’t have to manually water the garden each night. Plants that normally would be difficult in November are thriving. Weeds are also thriving, but that’s okay. Into every-life some rain must fall. Flowers on the Okra plants hint of upcoming stews. Bright green Kale glistens in the morning dew. Trimmings from an overgrown Rosemary bush are hanging inside just for the aroma, I could never use it all for cooking or garnish.

Rainy nights make for great sleep. Tomorrow it will be back to work, but this week is split by Veteran’s Day, so there will be a brief respite. I actually enjoy my job most of the time and although there is always a wrinkle in our plans we seem to find a way to work through it.

Not sure what the future holds. Today, I plan to sit on the couch with my dog and enjoy the moment. The weather will change in due time. Did I mention its November?

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Where I find PEACE

Wildlife 002

FGCU Campus waterway

Most of my life I’ve been here in SW Florida. I’ve never been too far from water. I grew up in a family of commercial fishermen. I was taught to respect our environment. Now, as a not so young man, I find that Nature nurtures. When I’ve had a bad day, or hell a bad week, I find Peace just observing GOD’s creation.

Something as simple as feeding the squirrels in my back yard can somehow ease my stress. Putting the canoe into the water just after daybreak, smelling the fresh air, feeling the light breeze,  being alone with my thoughts can temporarily transport me out of the everyday hustle and bustle. Picking a fresh tomato, cuke, or pepper from my small garden provides a satisfaction that couldn’t be matched by purchasing a bushel of each at the market.

There have been times I’ve cussed the rain, complained its too hot, bitched about mosquitoes, but I always return to Happiness when I accept that I’m just one small part of a very grand design. Without the rain, crops don’t grow. Without the sunshine, nothing on earth would survive. As for mosquitoes, they’re food for bats and other creatures.

I can’t paint one perfect picture of nature with my mere words. Many talented writers have come before me giving us wonderful works describing their experiences. Photojournalist have given us pictures of nature in almost every possible situation. For me, one minute spent in Nature, is worth a hundred seeing it through an others eyes.

Next time you’re feeling blue try visiting a local park or conservatory. I’m thankful for the protection my home provides from the elements, but those elements are what make Earth the only viable location for human life.

HAVE A BLESSED DAY!

First day back on campus, and nature deficit

It might be hard to see, but that is a young gator warming up in the sun. There is a lot more on campus than classrooms. I usually park in the most underused parking garage the campus has. I enjoy the stroll across the wooden bridge as well as the sidewalk trek through nature. It takes a little longer to get to my classes clear on the other end of campus, but the views can be stunning. Most other students I see on the same path I take never look at what is absolutely surrounding them. When others use this garage or the lot beside it is often a choice of last resort, meaning the others are filled to capacity, and they are probably going to be late to class anyway. In most cases they either take the walk while talking or texting on their cell phones, never pausing to breathe in clear air and examine the beauty this world has to offer.

As stated, I purposely park in the most underused parking garage, just so I can walk through natural scenery before I go into the classrooms. Sure it’s a longer walk and I can’t always predict whether or not I need an umbrella, but just one good view of nature in motion per semester would be worth the added effort. I get a lot more than one, this is my last semester here as an undergrad and I don’t envision coming back as a graduate student any time soon. I will miss these walks. I’m sure I can still visit the campus and the many other places designed to expose young people to nature in the future, it just won’t feel the same.

I have heard the term nature deficit for quite some time now, but until observing that most of my fellow students walk through natures beauty and not even raise their eyes from whatever device has them captivated worries me. I am a student of computer information systems, so I see a significant use for technology in everyday life. But should we accept that being connected is so important that we fail to even notice all that nature is and can offer us? I hope not. I and my friends grew up playing outside everyday, a lot of children today only venture outside when forced to do so! What happened to us as a nation?

If all of us were so addicted to technology like video games and internet applications, who would be our doctors, policemen, firemen, military, leaders, not to mention providers of electricity and the stuff people are addicted to? I think almost all forms of recreation have a place in people’s lives, they should not however rule your life. Recreation is vital, take the word apart and examine it.

Please take a moment to observe something natural everyday!  Give thanks to GOD for all he has provided. Respect our environment.