• Austen Hayes

Merely to Be With Nature

I watched the other day as a small red fox walked into the yard, perched on the stone wall, looking towards the house as he groomed himself. I wondered...is he here to collect the birdseed? Is he growing familiar with our lives, our routines?


I was mesmerized by his delicate beauty, red-orange coat against bright-white snow, paws reaching to clean his muzzle. As he turned and ran into the woods I thought about observation - his and mine. Our shared moment as if I'd been "...to visit a friend, with no intention but to be with him." - naturalist Nan Shepherd's words in The Living Mountain, referring to a peak that "...gives itself most completely when I have no destination but have gone out merely to be with the mountain...".


There is a place near you...a patch of grass, a woods, a park...where you

can turn away from the noise, away from strain and discord - a place that will "give itself to you most completely"...when you give permission to time with no particular goal.

View from a footbridge in Central Park

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