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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"When I first open my eyes upon the morning meadows and look out upon the beautiful world, I thank God I am alive."

American Poet/Essayist
1803 - 1882

I am fortunate that I have a yard that is full of birds, squirrels and rabbits.  And occasionally, a deer or a family of ducks have found the time to visit.  And our yard has maple trees, a large old pin oak and a few blue spruce.  Even in a metropolitan city I can find nature close at hand.  As creative leaders, we can and should find inspiration in nature.  I am amazed at how strong and resilient Mother Nature is.  If you have ever observed grass poking up through a crack in the concrete, you understand what I mean.  Long after the last man or woman has passed onto a better place, Mother Nature will still be there.

For me, the ironic thing is that human beings talk about nature as if we are not a part of it, only observers.  In fact, we are very much a part of nature.  And contrary to the opinion of many, Mother Nature is stronger and tougher than man.  I remember reading a study of overcrowded deer on an island.  The overcrowding generated unusual behavior among the deer such as increased fighting, rape and homosexuality.  Nature sought to reduce the overpopulation through disease.  In the end nature will win so we need to enjoy it while we can.

Photograph by Johari King
As artists and writers, we need to find joy, solace and inspiration in nature.  We need to enjoy the sunsets and the sunrises.  We need to appreciate the changing of seasons from fall to winter to spring.  The squirrels and rabbits in my backyard bring me pleasure and laughter with their play.  I have seen rabbits play leap frog, jumping over each other.  I have watched squirrels chasing each other up a tree.  And you will find both the rabbits and the squirrels in my haiku and my poetry.

Here are a few of my haiku.  More of my haiku can be found at my website.

downtown Chicago
    a squirrel buries apples —
        warm autumn sun

Illinois farmland —
    pheasant scoots across the snow
        the pickup heads home

early morning —
    two robins play leap frog
        in the shadows

on the corn tassels
    a flock of purple martins. . . 
        summer sunset