|Basecamp, tiny trailer style. Lacey-Keosauqua State Park.|
|Beauty discovered at Wildcat Den State Park.|
|Children experiencing the wonder of the Maquoketa Caves.|
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
Have we given our hearts away? Have we lost--or better, forgotten--our capacity to interact with the world? When we spend less time in nature, then do "little we see in Nature that is ours"? What a shame that is! The beauty and power of nature is that same beauty and power within ourselves. That is what we need to remember--that is what we need to reawaken when our spirits are depleted.
|Basecamp in an urban campground. Illiniwek Forest Preserve.|
|We expand our vision to a greater world. Maquoketa Caves State Park.|
My wife calls me to the window, and a brilliant goldfinch is eating hyssop seed, the plant bobbing with the bird's weight as it eats. It is the early morning, just past dawn, and a thunderstorm has passed. After a hot, dry week, the air is cool and moist. The earth has received a rejuvenating sip of rain, and I am rejuvenated by what my senses tell me: we can heal ourselves by healing the earth. The hyssop, the black-eyed Susans, the cosmos blossoms, the zinnias, cucumbers and okra, honey bees and bumblebees, the wrens and goldfinches--this late summer haven we have created with our vegetable and flower garden is a haven not just for the natural world we have invited but also for nature within us. Sitting by the campfire should be just an extension of how we live our natural lives--a garden at home, a plant in the office, taking our lunch outside or commuting with a bicycle. The world is our home; we shouldn't keep ourselves locked away in a closet . . . no matter how nicely we have furnished that little space.
|Some basecamps are more permanent than others.|
|Solo camping at Rathbun Lake. Honey Creek State Park.|
|A safe haven.|