Chasing the feeling of childlike awe nature once inspired in me
By Patricia Baer
Spring is finally here. With it comes the rain to wash away any last bits of slushy snow that remained on the ground. For whatever reason, I found myself looking forward to spotting my first rainbow of 2015 the other day. I could not remember the last time I had seen one. I am sure I did at some point last year, but I cannot recall the last time I actually stopped to appreciate one.
Rainbows are one of those naturally occurring events that have always inspired childlike wonder in me. Somewhere in my boxes of photos I have yet to unpack and organize is an album with three overlapping photos that form the nearly perfect arc of a rainbow I came across once on a trip from St. Paul to Marshfield, or maybe it was vice versa.
It is not a very good collection of shots. They are slightly out of focus, and the centering is off, but I have kept the trio to remind me of that sense of awe and excitement the moment gave me.
Lightning bugs are another one of those things in nature that make me think, “Hey, isn’t that cool?” each time I see them. However, these I am less certain I have seen recently.
My memories of childhood summers include fireflies flitting through the night air. I am almost afraid a quick internet search on their whereabouts will lead me to a tragic tale similar to the honey bee, so I have avoided researching it. Instead, I will hope to catch a glimpse of their lights sparking around my backyard this year.
However, what I would most like to witness this year are the northern lights. When I was a kid, the eerie images of a sky glowing in a rock concert-like display fascinated me. It was not hard to imagine how myths in which the lights signaled the return of angry ghosts or rallying warriors developed around this phenomenon.
I was convinced that one summer during a visit with my grandparents I was going to be treated to that spine-tingling collection of pulsating colors on the horizon. Unfortunately, each year I ended up like Linus waiting for The Great Pumpkin, disappointed but refusing to give up hope that someday I would catch its appearance.
I might need to take a road trip further north to pursue this desire. If it is not too late, maybe I will add it as one of my New Year’s resolutions or at least promise myself to pause and appreciate the natural world a little more in 2015 with the hope to recapture some of those feelings of childhood awe.