Nature lover

Yesterday I prehiked a trail on which I’ll be leading a hike this coming weekend. It was a lovely trail, with ups and downs, narrow rocky paths and wide logging roads. No, there were no spectacular waterfalls, or sublime cliffs, but the Ozarks always offers something special to the attentive.

A running channel that crosses a hiking path at Devil’s Den State Park, in Northwest Arkansas.

I’ve hiked recently with people who complain of the lack of spectacle on the trail. Maybe they aren’t looking very closely or patiently? Maybe they are expecting more than nature can, or should, deliver in every instance?

What if you are with a new lover and tell them they aren’t as lovely as the old one? The one from way back when, could be, when you were both young, voluptuous, flowing, spectacular?  The one you still imagine existing in some far off, exotic, impossible place?

But nature in almost every instance tells us, as we tread her, and treat her softly and reverently, that she loves us. Should we not return the favor and love nature in all its aspects? Only the foolish, seems to me, would throw away such love. Or not be grateful for it.

Thank heaven for little girls

As I was lunching with my friend Bob at Crystal Bridges the other day, the friend who’s been struck with glioblastoma, I was struck by the beauty of a little girl at the next table. Sitting with her parents, a young Indian couple, she sported a beautiful complexion, a long braid down her back, and a lively patter.

Not being particularly shy, I went to their table and told them I admired the girl. The parents thanked me, and when I asked the girls said she was four, not three. Well, don’t be too quick about that, I suggested. You have a long time, don’t you, to be four?

We’re going to a cave this afternoon! she offered. 

Art this morning at the museum, I replied, and nature this afternoon? That’s a lot to cram into one day. Slow and steady is my motto.

When the family left, evidently on the way to the cave, the girl came over to our table and high-fived me.

See the source image
Maurice Chevalier, French actor and singer, 1888–1972.

So here was Bob, struck with this deadly and dreadful malady. And here was milady, four years old, a beautiful little girl barely begun to grow. She will grow, of course, as Chevalier suggests  of all little girls in the Lerner-Lowe song “Thank Heaven for Little Girls.” And we hope she will grow, and blossom, and not be blasted by too many maladies or iniquities or inequities. 

And so it goes, the cycle of life and regeneration. I’ll drink to that and to what for most of us, we hope, will be a slow and glorious decline. (There are, of course, no guarantees.)