If you are around my age, then you likely grew up singing songs like “Colors Of The Wind.” Historically inaccurate movie portrayals aside, I love that song. The lyrics talk of a connection to each other, to all living things, and to the earth. “Every rock and tree and creature has a life, has a spirit, has a name.” There is a lot of peace and power in that statement.
I grew up on 40 acres surrounded by woods and fields. Nature was literally right outside my door, so I didn’t have to work to feel connected to the natural world. People, on the other hand, were a little sparse and took a little more work to connect to.
Since moving to Beaver Dam, my worlds have flipped. We currently live in town. To feel connected to the land and forest I have to put in more effort than simply opening the door. Our family enjoys exploring hiking and walking trails in the area. We took a trip this week to the Horicon Marsh to walk the TernPike Auto Tour. John loved watching the ducks and geese and even started imitating them!
It was a very windy day at the marsh. We stopped along the side of the trail to watch the tall grasses blowing in the wind. The sun reflected off the grass as it twisted and waved, and it was beautiful. As I watched, I realized that I couldn’t capture what I was seeing in a way that would accurately reflect the beauty of it. It left me wishing I could paint with all the colors of the wind.
The blessing of living near people is that we have had the opportunity to make meaningful connections with some amazing friends. However, what is sometimes easy to forget is that we don’t live in a world of people exactly like us. Our communities (streets, schools, workplaces, etc.) are diverse in many beautiful ways. Consider the line: “You think the only people who are people are the people who look and think like you.” Sometimes it feels as though we are stuck in a battle of us versus them and are too blinded by our differences and disagreements to think of each other as we.
Perhaps I can’t sing with all the voices of the mountain or paint with all the colors of the wind (art and music were never my strong classes). But maybe I can try harder to hear and see them. Maybe I can try harder to roll in the riches surrounding us without wondering what they are worth. Perhaps there is something to be learned by walking in the footsteps of a stranger. Because “we are all connected in a circle…that never ends.”