About a month ago we were driving to work. Which happens to be through the mountains, here in Tennessee. We turned a corner and there was a small black bear scurrying across the road. We stopped briefly to take a picture and watched as he scampered into the woods without any care that we had been there at all.
Since we moved into our new house in the woods, I have been taking such notice at all of the wildlife we see each day. There is a small groundhog that has made a home and several holes in our yard that we named “Diggy” and a raccoon that visits us in the middle of the night we call “Randy” We saw a corn snake that we hope moved on. I have seen more spiders than I really care to and we are teaching the girls to leave them be and not be afraid of them. There’s birds and bugs and wildflowers. I grew up in the woods and all of this was so common to me, however, I have lived “within city limits” for so long that I have seemed to have forgotten what a wonder it is to coexist with nature and all of her creatures. Being a native to the Smoky Mountains leaves some room to take seeing a black bear for granted. People come from all over the country to see the same things that I see each day. Sometimes I think it is important to take a step back and consider the magic of it all. Getting lost in the woods and smelling the forest, hearing the sounds and seeing nature untouched by “civilization” is something that has always been home to me. I feel alive in the woods and all of the weight of the world lightens as I am brought to the awareness that I am in fact quite small. The forest does not need me or my “problems” to continue to evolve. My dad and I took a hike about a month ago and as we came around the trail there was a huge rock. It was probably 500 ft tall. I walked up to it and touched it. I wondered how many people walk past it not even taking notice in their hurry to finish the hike and get on to the next moment that the day required… Lunch, work, school. And I wondered how many people stopped just like I did and felt of it captivated like it had a heartbeat and was alive.
I read a quote that said “Art is not what you see but what you make others see”. I can’t help but think about what others may see when they look at my art. I wonder if they just see a painting. An object. Or if they see a creation or a story. Something that inspires them to be alive? My true passion is creating and making. If no one cares, much like the forest, I will continue to make things. If they love my work and appreciate it, I will continue to make things.
I learn so much from nature. My hope for you is to find some time to appreciate nature yourself. To take some time to smell the wild air. Hear the river’s songs. Appreciate it and grow a little from being a part of it.