Posted By Liz Soutendijk

a curtain of leaves
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." -Marcel Proust, novelist (1871-1922) 

While I am sure Proust was not speaking of landscapes like the picture I posted here. Our friend Woody Starkey took this picture of vines on our land during the fall of 2013. However, for me the quote fits because Woody's photos and for that matter my husband’s botanicals of native plants  also fit. They represent a "voyage of discovery" when we see with new eyes (in this case their eyes). 

Another way to look at nature....

Dr. Ray Telfair, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologist, also helped me to open my eyes and take a new look at nature as we walked through the woods. I was telling him – “ if people could see the value of the plants that grow here naturally and how they serve the life’s of wildlife and the continuity of the health of the forest, etc., etc…. then logically they would think differently.”  I wanted to make my point.  Ray, as Ray often did, told me that my way of seeing was wrong. That wasn't what seeing nature should be about. What about the intrinsic value of nature?  It seemed to me he was asking me to see the worth of the all the communities that support this small plot of land in terms of its’ essential beauty. Why can't we see its value for just that?  I paraphrase.

Including viewing  the bigger picture....

Now I know our 57 acres is only a microcosm of the natural beauty of say the Big Thicket in south east Texas.  However, it does (like all microcosms) fit into a bigger picture for better or worse.  All the communities here (plants, insects, etc.) that support each other also support what they connect to. I think seeing nature’s essential value with a bigger picture view is also missing. What happens when natural areas containing many acres of natural habitat is broken up and sold and used for different purposes? Do we now lose our ability to see the essential value of land? Is the intrinsic value of the "bigger web" that natural habitats contain lost because we can’t see what isn't there any longer.

If I made any sense, please contribute your thoughts on how you see nature. 





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Liz Soutendijk
East Texas


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