“Every walk to the woods is a religious rite, every bath in the stream is a saving ordinance. Communion service is at all hours, and the bread and wine are from the heart and marrow of Mother Earth.”
~ John Burroughs
(Oconaluftee River, Cherokee, North Carolina)
Copyright (C) 2012 by Raindrop Ridge Press
“When Nature made the bluebird, she wished to propitiate both the sky and the earth, so she gave him the color of the one on his back and the hue of the other on his breast.”
I love this quote because it combines two of my favorite things — bluebirds and John Burroughs! People who have known me for a while through the pantheist group I’m in know how much I love John Burroughs and his book “Accepting the Universe.” It’s one of my top 5 favorite books ever….for me, it’s the nearest thing to a Bible that a pantheist has. Even though it was written so many years ago, it still works today, and every word and sentence I read seems to so eloquently echo my own thoughts and feelings.
The Eastern bluebird that lives in my neck of the woods has to be one of the most glorious, beautiful, and brilliant creations of Nature I’ve personally ever seen. Their flash of color takes my breath away and I consider myself so lucky to catch glimpses of them. A couple of years ago, I put up a bluebird house on my front porch post, not the best of places because of the disturbance going in and out of the door, but a mama bird built a nest there nonetheless, and I was able to see the eggs and then the babies, watching them every day like a proud grandma until they took flight on their own. After that, I took the house down. I just felt like I was too intrusive and bothered the mama too much. i still haven’t gotten a post put up in my small yard to put the house on, and now that it’s February, I’m really regretting that. This is the time when the bluebirds come scouting around for a home. I haven’t seen one yet; we have had such cold weather here recently that it may still be a little early, but the weather is warming up over the next few days, so maybe I’ll be fortunate enough to catch that little glimpse of heaven and earth. My neighbors have bluebird houses, so I know they’ll be in the area.
I realize more and more how special a simple thing like a bluebird is in my life and how it makes me focus so intensely for a short time on my connection with nature. it’s all around me, all the time, whether it’s the bluebird or a myriad of other things. Life is good and I’m so glad to be a part of it all.
Copyright (c) 2009 by Raindrop Ridge Press
I have a love affair of sorts with John Burroughs, the naturalist/writer who died in the 1920s. I was familiar with Thoreau and Muir from my teenage years but not Burroughs, until I read something of his on the Universal Pantheist Society website. His book “Accepting the Universe” is the nearest thing to a pantheist Bible that I think there is other than Nature itself. What I feel and think inside, he has managed to express so eloquently and so perfectly it gives me goosebumps. The book is chock full of wonderful sentences and quotes that describe what I try to say myself when I sit down to write about life outside my own window. He inspires me….I wish I could have met him. The next best thing is to read more about his life and more of his writings, but most importantly, I think, is to take his writing as a jumping-off point for my own exploration of the world of Nature that is all around me here where I live and move every day. I have lived in these mountains of North Carolina for so long, and while I love them and they’re part of my very being, I take them for granted sometimes. There’s so much yet to learn and experience among them, to observe and hear and smell and touch. John Burroughs grew up in the Catskills. I grew up in the Blue Ridge and Smokies, but that doesn’t matter. His writing of nature is kind of universal, even if the specific manifestations that I see every day differ from his. I’ll be making reference to him again, I promise, as I begin reading this book once more from front to back and then branch out to other writings of his, too. Maybe I’ll even join the John Burroughs Association to help ensure that many more people learn about him and look at nature through his eyes and thus be inspired as I have been. The thing I love about “Accepting the Universe” is that it’s spiritual or religious in a way that I can live with, that I want to live with, not just pure science but so much more.
Copyright (c) 2009 by Raindrop Ridge Press