Observing Nature

Note: This week I decided to post a few short journal entries that I wrote for my writing class at the University of Minnesota at Morris in 2010. I hope you enjoy! 

Wild Dancing

The wind grew steadily from a gentle whisper to a crazed shout. The trees swayed gently and then, as the rhythm of the dance gained in speed, in time with the wind, they rocked back and forth in a frenzy, caught in the mood of the wind. Their movements were precise, full of grace and elegance, but filled with wild abandonment. Where did they learn such dances? As seedlings, had they watched the elders dance? Learning to let the music of the wind take them? Or were they just overcome with the rhythm, moving with it, becoming one, feeling it? And why dance? Perhaps it is a ceremony to usher in spring, to welcome back the longer, warmer days. Oh, to be like the trees and totally given to the rhythm, to let it sink into me (us), to move with abandonment of oneself! Not worrying about how it appears. Perhaps more of us would dance in the coming spring, if we could throw off self-conscious thoughts. The trees gave it all to the rhythm despite their creaking joints. Why can’t we?



Often mistaken as some sort of moss, this small organism (well actually organisms) is seen splattered on tree trunks and wooden fence posts. Yellow, green, blue, orange, and gray splotches of colorful paint on a dark brown canvas. Lichen are a symbiotic relationship between fungus and algae. Intertwined, benefiting from each other, married and becoming like one to form a single organism to the naked eye. The small tubules look like coral, elegant in simple beauty. Appearing like lacey doilies decorating tables at fancy parties, but in the case of lichen, decorating fence posts and trees. Until recently I brushed them off not really caring what they were or considering them as living organisms. But after many biology classes that explain the ecological niche of these organisms and pointing out that they were more than one organism, I became more appreciative of them and often tell their life histories to others hoping to find someone just as interested as I.



She calmly wanders about, munching grass, her large, flat teeth working like scissors to cut long, thin, green blades. Long tail swishing to scatter the incessant assault of biting insects, and for her contentedness for grazing in the pasture at leisure. In the afternoon heat, she finds a spreading oak tree to lie under. She carefully tucks her legs underneath her bulky body. Lying under the green umbrella, she chews her cud, and perhaps closes her eyes enjoying the pleasure she feels. Her sleek dark red, maroon coat speckled and spotted with abstract patterns of white, stands out from the green grass and gray tree trunk. Big angular head with a broad forehead, becoming more narrow on its way to the nose. Her nose glistens with beads of water droplets. Twice a day she trots to the barnyard with the rest of her herd, going to relieve her round, bloated udder of its milky burden. Her sleek fur a velvet softness, leaning into her hindquarters, gentle hands caressing her silky soft udder and teats, stripping them of milk. Sometimes she’ll look back with smiling eyes of gratitude. Her content and happiness is shown by the rotating circular movement of her jaws as she chews her cud, for she will only do this if she is happy. On the rare occasions of displeasure or pain, her emotions expressed in wetness around her giant, brown eyes, a long, loud sorrowful bellow, or if the source of her displeasure is tangible and close, she will lash out with a sharp kick. But mostly she is content with her existence wandering between pasture and barnyard.


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