At first glance I am not much of a nature girl. Yes, I went white water rafting in the Pacific Northwest where I also did some hiking in the gorges, I even wore Tevas that summer, but for the most part the closest I get to camping is staying in a 2-star hotel. Yet I love the outdoors.
I love, after a long winter and a usually uncertain spring when the buds have finally opened and trees are full of leaves, when a breeze blows that makes the leaves look like they're clapping, applauding Mother Nature for a banner day.
In the summer I love the way the sun feels on my skin. I loving being on the beach in the late afternoon, when the breeze off the ocean picks up and the sun changes just a little--as if it has decided it has worked long and hard enough for the day and is ready to rest with the rest of us.
Then, once I am done mourning the end of summer vacation, and am in the routine of relaxing in flannel pants and a sweatshirt with the windows open, I love to watch the leaves change colors. I love when the colors are so beautiful and vibrant I want to pull over and take pictures so that I can have proof that they really were a spectacle. Words fall short; simple words like red and yellow and orange don't do them justice. Today I will put my camera in my purse, in case there are scenes I cannot pass without stopping to get proof of their magnificence, because I know that winter will follow.
Welcoming winter is always difficult, transitioning to short days and long cold nights does not compel me to go outside, where for a time things look bleak and unwelcoming. But there is a stretch of tree-canopied road, tall trees on either side of the road who try to touch in the middle, on my way to work that is stunning after a snow storm. The white branches glistening in the sun take my breath away and make me wonder, how can it be so brilliant? When the answer comes to me, I am inspired to pray as I drive along.