Saturday, 24 October 2015

In ‘Harmony with Nature’ in the Interlake



harebell

woodland sunflowers
“If you live in harmony with nature you will never be poor…         The day has already begun to lessen. It has shrunk considerably, but yet will still allow a goodly space of time if one rises, so to speak, with the day itself. We are more industrious, and we are better men if we anticipate the day and welcome the dawn.” - Seneca, Letters from a Stoic




Part of my summer was spent taking a philosophy course. These classes took place at two different colonies, one of which was Netley Colony in the Interlake. I’d never been there before, so I enjoyed meeting new people and seeing this part of Manitoba. Of the four days we spent at Netley, one was particularly hot and muggy. Even though I was fascinated with philosophy, sitting in the classroom that day drained much of my energy. I can never fall asleep during the day, no matter how tired I am, but around five, I had a strong urge to lie down under a fan and close my eyes. As soon as I got to my host family’s home, I did just that. However, after just lying there for half an hour, with sleep as elusive as a cool breeze, I decided to get some of our assigned reading done instead - may as well get acquainted with the Stoics. 


In the evening it was still very muggy, when my friend and host, Jennifer suggested, “Linda, let’s go for a ride.” We got on to a Kubota and took off down a gravel road. “We’ll go to the gravel pit a few miles from here.” Jennifer continued. “We don’t own it, but the people who do, allow us to ride the trails and swim there.” 


Our vehicle didn’t have a wind shield, and the wind in my face felt heavenly. There’s no fan like the one nature provides; cool, refreshing and wholesome – a blissfully natural way to conquer heat and humidity.  I was reminded of the song, Wenn der Sommer Kommt, by Heintje, a Dutch Singer. And we’ll sing a song with the birdies there, and the wind sings too, tossing up your hair. When the summer comes with its fields so green, all the days will then be fair. 

Soon we bumped our way onto the gravel pit trail. It was narrow and wound its way through a wooded area; and at times was rather rugged. We paused at the swimming hole, soaking up the serenity of this beautiful tree-surrounded emerald lake. Birds sweetly serenaded us with their cheery evening song. As we continued along the trail, huge trees provided a lush green canopy. Hugging the trail were a variety of berry shrubs, wild flowers and grasses, creating an enchanting woodland. Jennifer pointed out different wild flowers still in bloom; asters, common tansy, Canada goldenrod, sow thistle, harebell, woodland sunflowers and wild roses. 
Canada goldenrod


Seeing this wildflower haven up close, and having an enthusiastic friend pointing out the various species, gave me a new appreciation for these exquisite plants. We came across the last pin cherries of the season, and almost-ripe rosehips. Every so often, a strong breeze brought a sweet scent, causing me to breathe in deeply, savouring the moment. “Is it wild honey or flowers?” I wondered out loud. Jennifer wasn’t sure either.


common tansy
All too soon we headed unto the gravel road and back home. With the wind whipping my Tiechl, (head covering) and hair about, I was totally rejuvenated and grateful for the wild beauty of the prairies. Stepping from the Kubota a few minutes later, I was abruptly reminded that the stifling conditions still lingered. However, it didn’t dampen my spirits; I had been energized by the gifts of nature and camaraderie, and was ready for a long walk with my friend, Dora, who was also taking the course.





Five kilometers later, a fog-blanket had covered the harvest-ready fields; like the dampness of the day was being laid to rest. This unique spectacle was an appropriate exclamation mark for this enchanted evening. I limped home, feeling hot and tired, but “my heart soared”.


 When through the woods, 
and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from 
lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

  
Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee, how great thou art! how great thou art!


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great job, Linda. This is a wonderful vignette of a summer's evening.

Linda Maendel said...

Thanks, it really was a memorable summer evening.

Jennifer Waldner said...

Revisited this today, Linda, and it literally had me pining for summer; the smells of windflowers, the wind in my face, and most of all... being submerged in the coolness of this emerald sea. Thanks again for capturing that evening.

Linda Maendel said...

Thanks, Jennifer. I think everybody in MB is pining for summer. I often reminisce of this lovely evening enjoying nature with you, especially in your area which I hardly ever get to see. Thanks for making it happen!