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Standing At The Altar Of Nature   Leave a comment

SCVN Day 1Naturalist David Lazaroff and several other naturalists with the 2011 SCVN Training Class, Day 1 — Image by kenne

I was a member of the 2011 Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) class. During the fall training I wrote the following poem, posting it on this blog:

STANDING AT THE ALTAR OF NATURE 

When we stand
at the altar of nature,
we stand with the greats;
Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Henry David Thoreau,
and John Muir,
each having helped define
our relationship
with nature and language –
“every natural fact is a symbol
of some spiritual fact,
. . . words are signs of natural facts.”

Nature’s beauty becomes
a source of spiritual energy
connecting all things
into a universal whole
with the energy of our
thoughts and will.

We stand at nature’s altar
not separate from her,
seeing her in the flowers,
insects, animals, mountains,
creating a unified landscape
of our inward and outward senses.

Like all relationships,
the experience depends
on the degree of harmony
between us and nature,
therefore becoming a gift
granted while walking with nature
as she is embraced in our minds –
Enlighten, she shares her secrets,
making the universe more “transparent.”
Yet the gift may only offer a glimpse,
to be shared in images and words,
charming all living things.

Commenting on my poem, SCVN member, Walt Tornow, wrote that my poem  ”. . . captures beautifully my feelings about being in the mountains.” He went on to share the following:

GOD, GRACE, AND GRATITUDE

Finding God in the wilderness …

  • The majesty of our mountains, the magnificence of views/ vistas they afford, and the splendor and munificence of the many gifts that nature has to offer
  • The awe and humility that comes from being witness to the grandeur of it all, juxtaposed with realizing the relative smallness and fleetingness of  our existence
  • Never feeling or being alone … lots of company by nature’s creatures, and taking in the beauty of nature’s show
  • Feeling vulnerable, yet trusting, being in the wilderness — potential prey to wildlife, and exposed to the elements
  • Experiencing awe, joy and inspiration by being here
  • Feeling connected … becoming one with myself, with nature, and the universe
  • Finding peace, serenity, and sense of holiness … my place of worship and meditation

 

Here for the grace of God am I …

Grateful to be, to be here, and be given the opportunity and capacity to enjoy the many gifts/ blessings around me.

– Walt Tornow

If you feel our passion for nature, we want to share it with you by inviting you to become a Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist.

We are currently recruiting people who share our passion for nature
to take part in our 2017 SCVN Training Class from the beginning of October to January.

After completing the training you will start next January teaching kindergarten and/or elementary students approximately 1 morning per week. All training curriculum materials provide for an excellent learning experience, along with many guest nature experts.

Additionally, you can take part in adult Public Interpretations nature programs about Sabino Canyon.

You can learn more about this wonderful volunteer nature program and get an application by visiting our website 

www.sabinonaturalists.org/

Please pass on this information on to persons you will be interested in becoming an SCVN member. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have — kenneturner@gmail.com

kenne

Strike It RichNaturalist, Gwen Swanson, demonstrates “panning” to students in the “Strike It Rich” program.
This creekside activity allows children to learn about the difference between rocks and minerals
by panning for garnets in the sand along Sabino Creek, and the importance of water in forming the canyon.
Image by kenne

SCVN Nature Walk #1SCVN Training nature walk with naturalist, Bill Kaufman (Fall 2011) — Image by kenne

Standing At The Altar of Nature — Part II: Nature Attitude   4 comments

Sabino Canyon — Image by kenne

A short time after posting “Standing at the Altar of Nature,” I received an email from Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) member, Walt Tornow, saying that my poem  “. . . captures my feelings about being in the mountains beautifully.” Walt and I understand how really rich we are, being able to embrace the great American treasure possessed by every citizen of our country. Walt represents people who love nature, want to experience as much of it as possible, and want to preserve and  share it. His feelings are expressed in the following, which he shared in his email and gave permission to post. 

GOD, GRACE, AND GRATITUDE

Finding God in the wilderness …

  • The majesty of our mountains, the magnificence of views/ vistas they afford, and the splendor and munificence of the many gifts that nature has to offer
  • The awe and humility that comes from being witness to the grandeur of it all, juxtaposed with realizing the relative smallness and fleetingness of  our existence
  • Never feeling or being alone … lots of company by nature’s creatures, and taking in the beauty of nature’s show
  • Feeling vunerable, yet trusting, being in the wilderness — potential prey to wildlife, and exposed to the elements
  • Experiencing awe, joy and inspiration, by being here
  • Feeling connected … becoming one with myself, with nature, and the universe
  • Finding peace, serenity, and sense of holiness … my place of worship and meditation

 

Here for the grace of God am I …

Grateful to be, to, be here, and be given the opportunity and capacity to enjoy the many gifts/ blessings around me.

— Walt Tornow

It’s common to find many in southeast Arizona who love the beautiful Sonoran Desert. Americans, in general, love their National Parks. But, as Nicholas D. Kristof shared in Sunday’s (9/11/11) NY Times op-ed piece, “The National Park Service reports that the number of recreational visits to our national parks was lower in 2010 than a decade earlier — lower even than in 1987 and 1988. There were 35 percent more backcountry campers in the national parks in 1979 than in 2010.”

The Outdoor Foundation concluded in a “special report on youth” that “Fewer and fewer youth are heading outdoors each year.” It added that “each year outdoorshood has rapidly moved indoors, leading to epidemic levels of childhood obesity and inactivity.”

Richard Louv, author of the bestselling book, Last Child in the Woodswrites of the staggering divide between children and the outdoors, which he calls, “nature-deficit.” 

“The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”—Richard Louv

This trend is sad, but the SCVN organization is doing something to turn the trend around. In the words of William Wordsworth, “Let Nature be your teacher,” the SCVN promotes awareness and appreciation of nature “through activities and programs for children and adults.” Nature “reminds us that we are part of a larger universe, stewards rather than masters of our world.”

In today’s world, a common thread is “stress.” The best break from stress is Nature, and as David Biello reports in Scientific American, “A growing body of research suggests nature walks may be more restorative than traditional stimulants like caffeine.” For me, I’ll take both! What is your Nature attitude?

The SCVN organization is one of the best examples of Margaret Mead’s belief that “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Again, I share the words of William Wordsworth on Nature:

 

These beauteous forms,

Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man’s eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and ‘mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration: — feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man’s life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened: — that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on, —
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.

— William Wordsworth, from the poem, “Tintern Abby” 

kenne

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