Nature and Nurture


Over the last year, after moving to the country again, I rediscovered something about this life and really about the world in general – there is such a nurturing aspect to nature. I started coming back to the country on a regular basis at the end of last summer and now live there. Having watched the seasons change full circle, I’ve come to see and appreciate even more the beauty of nature and what makes, to a small extent, the whole thing work.

Now, there is no need to go into the biological details about this – it’s really more of a philosophical observation that I am voicing here.

dogwood in the snow (© 2010 Tisha Clinkenbeard)

But as the seasons have changed they have each brought about a beauty that has been slightly different. The snow painted a gorgeous, still-shot picture several times over the winter, most noticeably in February. Though trees were bare and animals were quiet and sedate, sleeping thru the winter perhaps, nature just had to remind us of the beauty that it holds. Being lucky enough to capture some of that beauty was a gift to me that I’ll share with you throughout this post. It brought calmness to the soul and a promise of birth and gifts in the months to come.

As winter moved into spring, we all waited with bated breath to plant the gardens and flowerbeds. Daffodils were the first heralds of spring coming to our house. They bloomed with all their beauty just at the first of March. This meant fun with the camera and my stepdaughter posing in the flowers. Treasured moments – proof of the nurturing capacity that nature offers. We had the glorious opportunity to build our bonds with the help of sharing in nature.

playin' in the flowers (© 2010 Tisha Clinkenbeard)

The big gamble of the last freeze of the year was debated in many houses around the nation. Here my local friends assured me that after the Easter weekend we would be good to plant. So, our family was out there Easter weekend tilling that garden, planting those seeds, hoping for each of the little miracles to sprout from the ground. This being such a big adventure, and an intimidating one, for me it was still so exciting to see nature once again nurture our family in the experience.

One of my favorite parts of the coming of spring was the beginning of the sounds of the night “critters”, as I call them – the whippoorwills, the big bullfrog, and all the others that I have yet to come to know their official names. There is nothing like falling asleep to their songs at night! The peace of the world in those sounds nurtures your spirit and calms you.

The garden came along nicely and we had veggies sprouting and ready to be consumed – nurturing our bodies with the fruits of our labor – a labor of love! 

jalapeno (© 2010 Tisha Clinkenbeard)

 Can’t say it gets any better than a strawberry fresh from the garden, a bowl of lettuce freshly picked, or the first bite into that pepper you just picked from the garden. And personally, my mouth watered at the thought of the watermelon growing! Though, sadly disease of some kind and those little raccoons ruined that little joy for me. 

the wedding (© 2010 Lisa Stahl)

A very important moment was when we shared our corner of nature with friends and family by having our wedding ceremony on the pier over our pond. We worked for months on revitalizing our yard. We fertilized, planted, re-planted, redid flowerbed borders and even replaced the stairs from our back deck. Then nature provided a splendid setting for the ceremony. Guests brought their lawn chairs to take advantage of the open seating that the yard provided, ensuring just the right viewpoint for everyone. As one friend stated (loosely quoting) Mother Nature blessed the union.

Not only does nature grow, build, and bless us with all the bits and pieces of such a lush world, it also helps with the more intangible aspects of life. My stress level decreases with just a few minutes of listening to the breeze in the trees, feeling it blow my hair, seeing a cardinal perch on the bird feeder or watching a kitten tumble around playing with their sibling. All the almost-anger at spending 45 minutes rounding up strayed heifers is rewarded with happening upon the first ripe blackberries of the season after fixing the fence from which they escaped.  Those moments when you feel just a smidge like you are the only person on the planet and then you go out to the pasture and six heifers vie for your attention – wanting just a scratch on the head or to lick your shirtsleeve or maybe even give you a slobbery heifer kiss. And knowing inside that those heifers are particular about who they trust to give them that scratch and who they give those slobbery kisses to.  You are important to them and not alone at all.

Often, all you have to do is watch the world around you. Nature has a show for us to see and savor every minute of every day. Not just the plants and animals but the people around us.

askew (© 2010 Tisha Clinkenbeard)

 Whether in the city or the country there is the opportunity to catch that one moment observation or action that will nurture your self for the next hour or the next day or even the next week. And if you happen to capture it on film then you may even be able to relive that or those moments for years and years to come.

Go on – go grab some nature and nurture!

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