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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jellystone (National Park) on the Yogi Bear show was significant for me as a child watching this fun cartoon.  I loved animals.  I loved being outdoors.  I loved watching the sky in all its moods and colors.  I imagined that the wind in the trees was actually the trees coming alive for a few moments to whisper to one another.

My mother thought I might become a forest ranger.  Watching Yogi Bear I learned that there was such a thing as a national park and eventually what forest rangers do.  When I wasn't at a camp during the summer, I would go on hikes and commune with nature, just watching everything that moved and imagined what didn't move, well, what would it be like if it could be animated?  I felt such a bond with nature.  I still do.

I didn't go on to become a forest ranger but the subsequent travels to national parks near and far for the next five decades further deepened my love for natural . . and animals.  All the images emblazoned in my memory became retreats for me and I learned how to use those images for creating that happy place we all need but can't physically get to.  A special treat for me is watching clouds and marveling at the unique white, puffy formations.  I could share this interest with others and many a time I would go out for the day in the car with my friend John, when visiting Canada, and drive around in "God's country" just to look at the various cloud formations as they moved slowly across the sky.

I have developed the ability to transport myself into my favorite camping environment, sitting by the fire after dusk, watching the fire, listening to the frogs and critters sing and gossip, and listen for the water lapping on the shore nearby.  I'm skilled enough to bring that environment to life in my mind's eye and even smell the campfire.     There is a magic for me in being "in" nature even in this artificial way.  I don't live in nature as the animals and flora do, of course.  It's an experience I can connect and disconnect from at will.

The wonder of it never ceases.  I have had animals and reptiles as pets all of my life.  I am still in awe when I interact with them on any level - just being able to interact with them - still amazes me.  It intrigues me to see my dog and cats interact with each other in friendly ways, even playing with each other as usually different species don't play with each other.  For my cats or dog to lean on me or come to me to be petted it seems like a great meeting of beings, so different yet compatible.  The times I have hand-fed a reptile is another set of cherished experiences.  The interactions with other species give me the same kind of peace and tranquility, and sense of wonder, as sitting by that campfire or sleeping out in a tent listening to nature's own carry on their nightly doings.

My happy place.

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