As the dog ran out on the flimsy dock that jutted out into the pond, my cousin stealthily followed, attempting to play with her.
Suddenly, the joke was on him.
Before he knew it he was in the water, eight feet deep, soaked to the bone.
Earth Day is coming up and I already wrote the perfect piece, but I’ve already used it as my first #1000Speak post on compassion.
I am nothing if not adaptable.
I spent my Sunday with family. I am lucky to be born into a rather nurturing one at that. Not only are they all caring and considerate people, but they show that care to all living things they encounter.
This particular Sunday I spent walking through the woods, on the land next to where my cousin and his wife live, with them, my aunt and uncle and their two dogs, my parents, and my other uncle who was visiting from Germany.
I needed an afternoon outdoors, in nature, to clear the cobwebs from my head. It was a particularly rough week for technology. It was nice to “accidentally” leave my phone at home and just experience the natural world with some excellent company.
One of the dogs approached our group, as we stood and waited for my cousin to return in dry clothes, and a smell pierced our nostrils.
The dog had obviously been rolling in something.
My uncle, creative as he is, referred to the smell as “putrefying flesh”.
This is nature, people, at its most raw, putrid, and pure.
My mom is the kind of nurturing mother so many children would do anything for.
She’s the kind of woman to talk all big and tough about not taking in an animal one minute. The next, she’s going above and beyond.
A few years before our eventual, eventful, and fragrant nature walk, we were out on the deck when we heard a noise coming from somewhere nearby in the trees.
It was the sound of some poor creature and my mom went to discover what was making such a mournful screeching.
Baby squirrels. Their mother, sadly, had been found as road kill just down the highway. These tiny babies were orphaned and without their mother they would surely starve to death.
My mom couldn’t just sit back and let that happen.
She took the little things and cleaned them up. Again with the beautiful yet yucky reality of nature.
If the squirrels stood any chance of survival, she was their best bet.
For the following days, my mom kept them in a shoebox, fed them with a syringe, and hoped for the best.
Unfortunately, the one did not last long at all, but its sibling began to grow from the nourishment my mom offered it. It became our little pet. We would open the shoebox and immediately it would claw its way out and onto our lap.
It would crawl up my arm and nestle itself on my shoulder and against the warmth of my neck.
This wasn’t the first time my mom would take in newborn and abandoned animals. She had a natural gift for nurturing them and nursing them to health.
Of course, sometimes all the loving care and nurture in the world aren’t enough.
This second squirrel passed away shortly after.
Raccoons that became my mom’s friends, even when they grew big and were on their own. She would sometimes hear a scratching at her window, someone wanting to say hello.
My mom’s favourite form of exercise has always been gardening. We always had plentiful flowerbeds and gardens and my mom was always out there, working to make our yard beautiful.
Now, as our group walked through the woods, the dogs weren’t the only ones pummelled by all the different scents in the air.
Nature was all around us. The numerous branches and twigs crunched and cracked underfoot.
The sun was warm at first, but the wind was persistent.
The dogs ran about and we talked and walked. My cousin and his wife, my aunt, and my mother in particular, they discussed the many different plants and flowers and vegetation we passed.
I just listened to the shared knowledge of the native plants and things, between them.
Trilliums were just starting to bud.
Deer tracks could be seen.
Bloodroot. This one was new to me. A flower that bleeds all over you when examined.
The roots of all the trees growing in the woods and the flowers that give my mother and the others so much joy. You can’t help feeling inspired when you hear how they talk, so lovingly, about these natural wonders.
A red and grey feather. The twittery call of a favourite bird of my aunt could be heard in the distance. Wood peckers. A crow attacking a hawk.
Nature is all around us. It’s out there, if we choose to immerse ourselves in it, taking it in, in all its splendour.
These people are at the root of my growth as a person. These roots go deep. I couldn’t ask for a more nurturing bunch of people to call my family.
Happy Earth Day everyone. I hope you find people, animals, and other growing and living things to nurture and be nurtured by and that the roots are deep and healthy.
Nurture or nature?
I say: why must we choose just one?
#1000Speak on Twitter
April is the month of nurturing.
Stop and smell the bloodroot and the trilliums.