Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

” The Natural World: breathe it in,” by Judith Stanton

photo by Janet Riehl

Judith Stanton is in touch with the natural world both in her daily life and in her work. Here is a meditation on enjoying the natural world. Her fiction includes an equestrian suspense, "A Stallion To Die For." Her chapbook, "The Deer Diaries: poems from the natural world", keeps growing.

Judith says, I forget, some people don't look up from their computers all day long. Lots of people keep the draperies drawn in their houses all the time. Plenty of folks would rather ride a motorcycle in moto-cross events or race a car around a race track and spend their days with the smells of oil and grease
and gas rather than horse breath, saddle leather, and fresh pine shavings. Room for all, but guess I'll always be that little farm girl I grew up as.

THE NATURAL WORLD: BREATHE IT IN
by Judith Stanton

I write about animals, domesticated and wild—a novel set in the horse world of Olympic three-day eventing and poems set in my backyard where deer and birds and squirrels and a host of other critters cross my path any hour of the day and night. And I’m learning that some friends I thought I knew are uninterested—indifferent—maybe even a little repelled by what surrounds me. It’s always surprising to learn when people in our society have become so urban that they disconnect themselves from the nature I personally find so sustaining.

When I was working on my dissertation, I spent a month with friends in New York City. Everything was new to me, the smell of the streets, the traffic, the hurry of the people. I was fascinated with faces, store-front windows, and taking the subway. Somewhere about the third week, I looked up from my books long enough to realize I was surrounded by concrete. The city’s only “wild” life was pigeons, dogs on leashes, scrawny city trees, and occasional sprigs of grass or weeds struggling through the cracks of sidewalks. I ached for home.

Right now, outside my window, a pine tree let loose a cloud of pollen—a magi cal sight to me who am so fortunate not to be allergic. Tender young green leaves have replaced the oak trees’ tassels which have dropped and litter the eaves and ground. Some bird I’ve been meaning to identify for days is chirping her little brains out from deep inside the oak’s spreading limbs. Downstairs, the barn swallows have taken up their first nest of the season. I wonder if they’ll do two again this year. Last night was a late freeze, and in the afternoon, half a dozen deer invaded the middle pasture, some obviously pregnant, a couple lying down, all taking in the rays because their internal sensors told them a cold night was coming. I have to check the blueberry bushes. I don’t think the freeze was cold enough or lasted long enough to ruin the summer crop.

That level of awareness is just me, my good mental health. Not to notice, not to care—well, as I say, I have a few friends like that, but we’re not close, you know? Same way with art, music , dance. Sometimes I barely know how to talk to people who shut themselves off from beauty and inspiration of the natural world.

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