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Go outside

I've often said here that we are -- you are -- nature. Nature isn't something separate from us, something we view from an external perspective although it's easy to make that mistake. We live in homes that are heated, air-conditioned, lighted. We are plugged in to images of the world "out there" whether it's local or very far distant. It's no wonder we forget that we are not the master, that we are not in control, that we are as frail or as strong as leaves in the wind. But we are not the boss. Just ask our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico.

I walked through the woods near my house today after some time away. There are more trees down than the last time I went through, probably from the last hurricane we had here. The giant roots of 80' oaks blown over by the wind stand at odd sideways angles, 15 or 20 feet high themselves, and the canopy, although most of the leaves have dropped by now, has definitely opened up. Tree trunks showing their rings on my left and my right have been cut by humans with large saws so that the path is walkable, but the woods itself will take its time clearing out the debris, rerouting streams and small ponds and growing new young trees. The deer have made new pathways. Coyotes and bobcats and bears have made new homes.

Nature takes its time. We do not, and that's another reason we forget that we are nature, too. And, now, we are on the precipice of a season of intense activity, much of which is centered around consumption, all of which is very man-made. And in five weeks, it will be over. Is that really a season? This might be a good time to go outside. It might be a good time to step away from cyber, from stale indoor air, from the keyboard or screen and go outside.

Notice where the first rays of sunlight strike your face or where the moon is and what phase it's in. Notice the temperature and the difference between the sunny spot and the shady one. Notice the sweetness of a clementine or the flavor and -- even before you sip -- the aroma of your coffee. Notice the smell of dry, withered grass and the feel of frost on the handrail. Listen to the first snowfall.

Take a break and tune into nature's time schedule, the one you really live in. Deepen your appreciation of what a season really is and your place in it.

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