Thursday, August 7, 2008

Retuning by following instinct

August 6th, 2008: City air, the constant drone of traffic, sirens, and the tiredness of it all is bewildering. It’s time to go. I tie my boots stepping on slate stairs and have a flashback of tying up my boots on my dorm stairs in college many years ago. I had the same feeling. One can only take so much of the distractions and pollution. At times it builds to a tipping a point and the need for nature retuning is undeniable.

It comes from denying instinct for far too long. It is something felt deep within. To deny our nature to experience nature degrades ones soul.

Within an instant I’m on the Greenway path on my bicycle. I have my binoculars, camera, three liter camel-pack, and journal. I cruise the Tennessee River and feel the wind against my face. Usually, I take my time observing each nook of the well-known route. Scanning for birds and absorbing details. Not this time, it’s still too close to the city. I peddle on, only listening to each singing bird and making only mental notes. No pictures, no entries in my journal. Feeling the city slip away, the air seems kinder, and life forms avail themselves even as I pass rapidly. Flying grass hoppers hover, skinks dart for cover; birds sing and rustle in brush.

Finally, I can breathe as within minutes I’m in wooded sections. I peddle on to field thick and waving in the breeze. No more city birds. Field sparrows, towhees, cuckoos, buntings, red-winged blackbirds and other sing in a constant stream of connections to one another and connections to all listeners.

Among the most perceptible connections of humans to nature is birdsong. It’s a rather conspicuous expression which is felt.

Step into the woods and listen to the birds sing. Enjoy the sounds so pure and timeless. Contemplate birdsong. It is a wonderment that can be humbling, inspiring, and pleasing. It is humbling because we’re reminded of our place and space in time. It is a moment of pleasure when the blinders are lifted. We see the forest through the trees, the big picture, and with this resolved focus we are inspired to put it to use.

We may instinctively gain a sense of a singing bird’s disposition, just by the manner in which it sings. It need not be a forces cerebral experience. It can be passively sensed. A bird can be angry, excited, distressed, alarmed, languid, or in any other state imaginable.

At times, understanding the mechanisms can be more cerebral. These emotions are the behavioral expressions directly resultant from chemical physiological processes. Yet, it is satisfying, satiating just to feel it. The birds react to stimulus and feel and express it. This expression is in itself a completion of cycle as a stimulus we then feel and react to in turn.

Within the physiology of this complex biotic realm there is perceptual bridge connecting the thing we call nature with our human nature. It is instinct that is at the root of which we abstractly form the existential constructs of philosophy, reason, and science.

I reach a steep bank trailing to a cool deep stream and spring. No one has been there for months, the trail is unbroken. I slip through the briars and Ivy with little effort and pause at the stream bank. Common yellow-throats chant, fish sip food-stuff from the surface film, insects hum and fly everywhere, a cardinal flits through a setting sunlight patch. No sign of man. The only depressed plants here are flattened not by man’s foot, but by beaver slides and heron posts.

Here I feel the peace I longed for. My mind is cleared of all the clutter. I’m reminded of where I belong, where I must go and what I must do. Clarity of thought that was missing is regained… by following instinct, reconnecting with nature reconnecting with what defines self.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very Interesting!
Thank You!