Why Bother Noticing Beauty In Nature?
I mostly grew up in the flatlands of Nebraska and South Dakota. As a child, I took for granted the tall, bright green stalks and leaves of the corn which grew in long straight rows along county roads, and the unobscured blue sky stretching across the whole landscape. No matter the season, winter, spring, summer or fall, the wind blew. Summer rain storms were usually accompanied by lightning, thunder and tornado warnings. Winter blizzards created snowdrifts as tall and stiff as any old farmer’s new pair of overalls. The endlessly flat, and windy landscape was all I knew until we moved West and lived in Colorado for a short stint.
My only knowledge of the Rocky Mountains came from the roll down diagram which hung in front of my fifth grade classroom. Whenever we took out our geography books, the teacher would always pull the map down and point to whichever state we were studying at the time. Those mountains, always represented by green humps and located in states other than the one I lived in, were an unknown mystery to me. Then, when our family packed up and moved from South Dakota to Colorado, I got my first real taste of those mountains. My dad pointed them out to me while he drove the family car stuffed with my siblings and me. The needle like peaks, still far off in the distance, woke me from the monotony of the flat landscape I’d grown used to. Those pinnacles were white with snow, and reached toward the heavens shimmering in pink sunlight. It was the first time I connected beauty with nature.
We lived in Colorado for a mere eighteen months before returning to the flatlands of Nebraska. But in that frame of time, my ears became accustomed to the sound of rivers cascading over boulders, as well as the melody of wind stirring in the pine trees. My nose inhaled the scent of damp earth and cedar trees while tramping through the woods. It never bored me to watch deer spring away, their tails pointed skyward or observe a grouse strutting across the trail. Immersed in beauty and majesty, I sensed tranquility. But it was short lived.
We moved back to the flatlands and the city and I kept a lookout for the same feeling of serenity. I sat by man made ponds in city parks and watched the ducks. I’d stroll along quiet paths in botanical gardens. But of course, it wasn’t the same. Finally, old enough to move away from home, I chose a westerly direction, back toward the majestic mountains.
I am once again surrounded by pinnacles reaching up into the heavens, damp earthy smells and the melody of wind stirring through pine trees. But my appreciation for this beauty goes deeper. Now I value the Artisan’s hand, the Creator behind the beauty and majesty from which comes my peace.
Why bother noticing beauty in nature? It is worth noting the beauty in nature wherever you live; in the mountains, in the desert, in the city or by the sea. No matter where where we reside, nature always points us toward the One who created it for our good pleasure.