If you live in the Northwest, you know today was not a day to be inside, so this is short! For me it was a day for taking my iTouch, my smallest camera, and heading into the woods where I found favorite plants along the trail. It was a day for my senses to experience some of the heavenly delights Nature has to offer.
The first ethereal (dictionary definition: extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world) gift from Nature was in song. The Swainson’s Thrush, an elusive member of the thrush family, is related to the American Robin, though, unlike the Robin, it is not likely to be in your front yard looking for worms or nesting in your eaves. Though I’ve occasionally seen Swainson’s Thrushs near the house, (sadly, I found a dead one that had hit a window several years ago) they generally nest and forage in conifer forests, where in the evening and morning, they sing a song that is both eery and heavenly. You can listen to a recording of it here: Swainson’s Thrush, but a recording does not have the ethereal sound when Big Leaf Maples and giant Firs provide the acoustics for the high notes as they resonate throughout the forest. On gray days the birds often sing all day. Though a sunny day, this morning several Swainson’s Thrushes sang well into early afternoon before they abruptly stopped. Being territorial, each song was coming from a different direction…a surround sound stereo performance! As I sat on the back porch I felt transported to another place, a celestial place.
While on my walk in the woods my next sense delight from Nature was the heavenly scent of Bald Hip Roses. These diminutive little roses, growing on spiny, spindly bushes, are the most scented of the wild roses, possibly of all roses. Bald Hip Roses do not have the aggressive growth habits of our other native rose, the Nootka Rose. Single bushes are found here and there in semi-dense forested areas. They are at the peak of their bloom this time of year. Short lived blossoms fill the surrounding air with a rose scent that can send one swooning. Roses have represented the Divine for centuries, their scent being described as the scent of God. And of course poets have written of roses as the quintessential symbol of romantic love. The petite Bald Hip Rose is truly Nature’s gift of love to our olfactory senses!
The final representation of this dance of Heaven and Nature was the arrival of the first Clodius Parnessium butterfly in our yard. Parnassiam Butterflies are the most ethereal of butterflies with their semi-transparent wings. One can imagine that they are the butterflies of Angels! In their caterpillar stage they are completely depend on bleeding-hearts, making them very habitat specific. Fortunately we have a forest full of wild bleeding-hearts so each June we see the arrival of newly metamorphosed Parnessiums floating around to necter on blooming Dame’s Rocket.
The title to this post was inspired by a chant by Paramahansa Yogananda entitled Spirit and Nature Dancing Together.
Heaven and Nature seemed to be dancing all day today! Hope you had time to enjoy the performance!