Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche: Lost in Beauty

In the beauty surrounding us, we discover a life sustaining universe within our yards. We find our place in nature. The human constructed environment is dominated with machines and manmade objects. The wild environment of animals and plants consists of natural objects and an abundance of life.

We can easily become isolated from nature’s beauty in the human constructed environment.

Local newspapers help us stay connected with things natural by including notes, pictures and pieces about the natural world. The smaller the town and newspaper, it seems more about the real world is included. Larger city newspapers share less about the natural world’s essential beauty. When large papers include nature, it is often about problems like water contamination or the plight of species such as ash trees killed by the emerald ash borers that caused billions in economic impact. Large city papers seem to focus less on wonder and beauty.

Natural beauty and wonder connect us with the universe. Nature often only receives notice when negative monetary impact results from misuse caused by inadequate attention to essential life sustaining Earth Care contributions for daily health. To care, we must first connect our lives with nature’s beauty.

Discover beauty and wonder in fall odors and the sound of fallen leaves crunching underfoot. Color mosaics in the sky, leaves, and water tantalize the eyes. Taste garden produce when harvesting the world. Feel the texture of soil between toes when wading barefoot along a shoreline.

As creative as we like to think we are, nature’s beauty encourages creative imagination and inspires our minds to develop magnificence in our human constructed environment.

As we travel forward in time and beauty, notice beauty’s role for our health and wealth. Failing will deprive us of richness that enhances a content happy life. Help others experience nature’s beauty and wonders.

The wonders of yesterday await our tomorrow if we notice them today and protect their presence. They must be held sacred and secure for present and future generations.

Nature niche treasures have value beyond the most extravagant manmade trinkets decorating homes. Too often nature is removed from our landscape without us noticing lives lost and beauty diminished. A vast number of people miss living a rich life provided by surrounding beauty in our personal yard’s microcosm universe.

As evening’s dusk settled and quieted the neighborhood for night, twenty-five species of trees could be viewed from the back porch. Each cast its own beauty upon me. They replaced a mowed yard that was present when we moved here. We mow infrequently around the house where a collection of wildflowers greets us. Grass intermingles with a variety of plants bringing mammals, birds, and insects into splendid view to enrich our lives. Gold shimmers from tree tops as the last glimmers of light retreat in the western horizon.

This evening a Monarch flew over the yard as if to announce its presence before returning to where it came to roost in a cherry tree for the night. Its brilliant orange top was hidden as it folded it wings to expose a pale underside during a night’s sleep. An Eastern Phoebe flew from a dead branch to remove flying insects from the air to fill its stomach before its night of peaceful rest.

It pleases me to be lost in beauty when I venture beyond the household doorway that could contain me and be an isolating barrier to the real world. By allowing beauty to shape the yard over 40 years, a rich life of nature niches encompass me. Had I manicured the yard like the previous owner, the yard would be a grass desert with little variety of life or natural beauty. It would display only a handful of trees species, mammals, birds, or amazingly beautiful insects. Let nature’s beauty abound and surround you.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.