Witnessing nature — the good and the bad

As you know if you’ve read many of my blogs, I enjoy watching nature, especially the little birds that frequent our feeders. Surrounded by this small woods, we get the opportunity to observe nature up close and personal.

Sometimes it feels more up close than I might prefer.

Last week I wrote about the hawk haunting our feeders. On Saturday, while I was sipping a cup of tea at the breakfast table, a movement caught my eye out of the window and I saw what I believe was a large hawk take off from the ground beside our deck and fly low away through the woods with something in its grasp.

I told Mark, who was oblivious to the whole small drama. “Where did it go?” he asked.

“Just went a short way in that direction. It’s probably stopped to eat whatever it had,” I answered. “Do hawks leave behind the bones? I’ve never seen that here anywhere.”

“Owls eat everything,” Mark said.

I know.  I have seen an owl pellet here.

“There’s a lot of chipmunks out there,” Mark said.

That didn’t make me feel a lot better, because I actually like the chipmunks.

“If we had mice, the hawks would be helpful,” I said. And even though I actually think mice are cute too, I don’t care for them so much if they get in the house.

Then Mark stepped out on the deck and looked down. “Oh no,” he said. “There’s a bunch of feathers out here.”

When our senses get involved, everything has more impact. Knowing that hawks eat small critters is one thing. Seeing the carnage is another.

This is true for everything. Reading or being told about something affects our intellect. But seeing, hearing, or smelling, a traumatic or tragic event or its aftermath affects our emotions. That’s why authors are encouraged to provide sensory information to make a scene as real as possible.

I think the link between our intellect and emotion is an interesting one to explore. I think the opposite of what writers attempt to do, and using our intellect to distance ourselves from the emotional overload of sensory information, may also be possible and helpful in some circumstances.

Is that something you are able to do?

10 thoughts on “Witnessing nature — the good and the bad”

  1. Hi Christine .. everything that goes around comes around .. a leaf gives an ant nourishment, a caterpillar something to eat, a support for a metamorphose, the leaves give the tree some air, the branches hold the leaves, the trunk holds them all … the birds alight and feed on the caterpillar, the insects pollinate the flowers, the dying provide nutrients for the ground .. the whole gives rise to starting again ..

    Nature has so much to offer … just being with it and releasing our minds to the air of life ..

    Cheers Hilary

  2. I’m not skilled in detaching from feelings brought on by seeing or hearing disturbing news or information. I try to shield myself by not purposely exposing myself to dark movies or spending too much time looking at footage from disasters. I wish I could disengage at will from sights and sounds and experience that bring sorrow. I do find comfort in believing that in spite of how bad things appear, God is in controll and will bring good even from bad circumstance. Blessings to you, Christine…

    1. That’s a good strategy, Carol Ann. For some reason I haven’t learned to shield myself. In fact quite often I do the opposite and am attracted to disturbing news like a moth to a flame. I think there is something for me to learn here.

  3. I guess it depends on the type of writing. Hubby also found a pile of feathers today. I saw the hawk on the fence, but it apparently already had brunch. Thankful we have so many pigeons, that seems to be the bird of choice.

    1. I’m just thankful I didn’t see the actual attack. A friend of mine witnessed one many years ago at his kitchen window. He relayed it to me. Maybe I shouldn’t be watching so much.

      But I did see a pileated woodpecker the other day. I’m blogging about it tomorrow. 🙂

  4. Living so close to nature we begin to realize that there is a fine line between life and death, between furry and fuzzy and sweet and dinner. I don’t know the answers. I do know that nature can look cruel in its pursuit for survival.


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