"The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you." —Rumi
You can't fool Mother Nature. But she sure can fool you. What a beauty she is—wowing us with her spacious skies and purple mountains majesty, and taunting us with her tantalizing tapestries of flora, fauna and frolicking creatures. From spine-tingling glacial lakes of Alaska to heart-warming mystical canyons of Arizona, I've experienced some of her best creations. Nature and I have been very intimate. I felt I knew her secrets. Boy, was I wrong!
I admit, I only wanted her for her looks and way she makes me feel. It never occurred to me that Mother Nature has a deeper, more compassionate, protective side. I ignored her whispers that she has gifts for me—treasures more valuable than gold. And I was blind to clues she scattered on my path.
In my youth, if Mother Nature told me her wild birds could guide me back to a lost path, I'd have felt she was nutty as a squirrel. Knowing that I wouldn't listen to her, she sent a skilled sage to get her message through my thick skull. The Native American medicine man asked a simple question: "Did you know that rattlesnakes only bite "civilized" people and leave tribal people alone?" I felt "crazy" shaman had a few rattles loose in his brain. But his words were intriguing. "How could that be?" I wondered. "Why would a snake choose to bite some people and leave others alone?" His preposterous claim haunted me.
Unbeknownst to me at time, this bold assertion propelled my life into a new direction that would take me off my known map into uncharted territory. Mother Nature was luring me in. I was cat. She was nip. She was determined to get my attention!
A Helpful Hawk
My first clue to guiding, caring aspect of Mother Nature occurred when a bird led me back to a hiking trail I'd lost. I'd gotten about 50 yards off path, heading in wrong direction. Suddenly a bird screeched. Looking up, I spotted a low-flying hawk circling intently over a particular spot. An investigation was in order. When I arrived at spot he was focused on, he flew off. Wow! I found myself standing smack in middle of lost trail! My winged friend had delivered me back to my path.
Dancing with Danger
Mother Nature had just begun to rearrange my understanding about inner workings of natural world. She arranged for me to experience safety in situations that are usually hazardous for humans. To protect their offspring, wild boar usually attack people who intrude into their space. When I surprised a family of 40 wild boar with babies and they were more curious than hostile toward me. A poisonous scorpion crawled harmlessly over my foot without showing any inclination to sting. During a lengthy close encounter of wily kind, a pack of coyotes sniffed me, checked me out thoroughly, and then went nonchalantly on their way. And I stomped my foot within an inch of a nesting rattlesnake—without triggering a bite or even a rattle. Now I have confidence to walk—and even sit—peacefully within a couple feet of resting rattlesnakes.
Ah, Mother Nature and my "crazy" medicine man—their ingenious game plan was bearing fruit. The clues I was picking up from my uncharted journey were beginning to form a fresh picture about how life really works. I could now see that situations that appear dangerous are not always case. What other surprises did Mother Nature have in store for me?