Nature Gazing – Part 1

I lay motionless, gazing out the window at the outlines of trees I have known my whole life.

The silhouette of the old shaggy pine tree, a huge weeping giant that shadows the edge of the neighbour’s backyard,  dissolves into black, and night has come.

I can’t believe I am here, is what I think and I roll over in a sort of dream state. I feel totally cocooned in a room that has been mine since the age of 7. It is not the little girls room it once was; exploded with too many hair ribbons and scrunchies. It has been “adulted” by my mother, simplified, and there is nothing pink in sight. But it still is my space, and the huge window that overlooks both ours and the neighbour’s backyards, still frames, almost exactly the same picture for the past 34 years.

Darkness here is a real thing.

Only one streetlight interferes with the otherworldly dimension of stars and planets that are splattered diamond dust in the night sky.

You have a complete view of the milky way on the balcony, and stars beam superbly bright, nothing like the city.

The sound of the night is so pristine that it would be rude to make noise and disturb it with TV and loud conversations, so I sit in my room, with a dull sidelight on next to my bed, and listen.

There is a symphony of insects creating all sorts of rhythms – some hum, others click and strum, while a parade of wildlife starts their show that lasts until the night’s end.

At 1:am a Koala makes an introduction to the valley. Grunting and rumbling its way through the grasses of the paddock outback, it takes residence overnight in mum’s big gum tree.

By the morning, he is gone, and I later find him in another gum tree where his mates are, one leg hung up over a small branch, he looks hot and satisfied.

The next day it would rain – my mother would get sick. I would become her nurse and manage the family of green tree frogs breeding in the swimming pool.

Two weeks alone in my mother’s home and the entire run of the kitchen created an experience never once shared with her or the house. I didn’t get sick with COVID-19, and I wondered if luck, immunity, or my deep focus on nature, my obsessive ‘Nature Gazing’ buffered me?.

There is a lot to be learned on the benefits to our health and mental wellbeing that only nature can provide – and why some of us gravitate to the wild, much more than the average joe.

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