“And we have seen night lifted in thine arms.” –Hart Crane, To Brooklyn Bridge
One of the nice things about nature is it does not judge, it just is. It’s always accepting. No wonder I’ve heard so many friends share their experiences retreating into beloved landscapes. When we immerse ourselves in a rich landscape and leave behind our tightly spun agendas, we are easily rejuvenated with a tranquil sense of unity, enfolded by the land. It gets in our blood.
For Veterans Day Mai and I traveled to the Bosque del Apache. I cycled the first 60 miles where the high plains meet the Manzano mountains on NM 337 (aka South 14) and NM 55. We met in Mountainair then hiked around Gran Quivara, a pueblo and Spanish ruin, before heading onward to see the Cranes and all wildlife at the Bosque. It was a long, slow, inkening twilight.
You can make out a few birds in these photos, but my cell phone camera is no match for the vivacious display of avian life there. Other visitors, however, had ample equipment to capture the show. There used to be Whooping Cranes, I’m told, at Bosque, but mostly Sandhills now.
All the divisions in my mind, different disciplines, schools of thought, melted away with the press of the fiery Southwestern sun, raying across the abyss. One web of life on this clear blue planet, on the shores of an infinite unknown. This humble sense of belonging is comfort.
When ecologists and planners unite, we come closer to making a human universe appropriate and fitting to the greater ecosystems we depend on. There’s a conference in May blending transportation planning and design with ecological perspectives. The promo video linked below includes awesome footage of wildlife crossings. Also check out Wouldn’t it be better if planners and ecologists talked to each more? from the Nature of Cities series. By some estimates 60% of our cities have yet to be built. It is probably a good idea from all perspectives–strategic investment, risk management, business forecasting, basic livability–to work with the ecosystem inheritance and mimic the functions to create a greater symbiosis with our works and nature. Then our cities may sustain longer as living places, as we dream deeper into nature.
Check out the EcoTransportation conference here:
You can subscribe to the Nature of Cities for free. http://www.thenatureofcities.com/
Richard Louv, John Jarvis, and Robert Zarr discuss the importance of kids In nature on the Diane Rehm Show . Louv coined “Vitamin N”. “Kids love to explore.” Dr. Zarr says nature heals.
check out The Every Kid in a Park initiative by NPS, connecting youth with nature.