When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.

— John Muir

April showers bring May flowers was the melody of the night.  I fell asleep to the melodic pitter patter of the first April rain shower and I awoke to the same sounds.  Unfortunately, it can also be said that the pitter patter became a bit more along the lines of PITTER PATTER throughout the night leaving me feeling a little on the groggy side the next morning.  But it’s all good, the rain is very much-needed.

Along with bringing our gardens back to life, the refreshing rain washed away some of the early spring pollen which wreaks havoc on my respiratory system.  I’m always appreciative of a good rain storm to wash away some of what causes me to sneeze endlessly throughout the spring days.  Nature at her best.

I call this blossom snow!

I call this blossom snow!   Ah-choo!

I follow the adventures of a family of three who are currently on a two-year trek around the world.  They’re 8-year-old daughter, Sydney, writes what’s known as Sydney’s Corner on the family blog:  Travel-Junkies.com.  Sydney’s most recent post about Henna and the traditional decorating of a bride’s hands and feet was too much fun to read.  Sydney explained the process of how Henna is made and isn’t it fascinating that leaves crushed into a powder and blended into a cream can become something so intricately beautiful?  Nature at her best.

Sydney's Henna.  Photo credit:  Jason @ Travel-Junkies.com

Sydney’s Henna.   Photo credit: Jason @ Travel-Junkies.com

Two hours from Ashland, OR is the Crater Lake National Park.  If I were to select just two words to describe Crater Lake, I believe I would choose pristine and glorious.  In simplest of terms, the lake is the blown out top of a volcanic mountain with a depth of 1,943 feet.  It is the deepest lake in the United States and the 9th deepest lake in the world and the park receives an average annual snowfall of 44 feet.  During the summer months there is a guided boat tour on the lake, but no private motor craft is allowed.  Getting down to the water’s edge is no easy feat… the Cleetwood Cove Trail, which leads to the water’s edge is 1.1 miles and descends nearly 700 feet.  Remember, you’ve got to get back up to the rim the same way you went down!  Nature at her best.

Crater Lake and Wizard Island on the left.

Crater Lake and Wizard Island on the left.

Last fall, we took a road trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.  We have seen many wonderous sites throughout our years of travel but I have to say our National Park System never fails to disappoint.  Along with the spectacular canyons and carvings and rivers and trails and… there is so much history to be learned as well.  We settled into at the lovely Desert Pearl Inn in Springdale, Utah, just outside of the entrance to Zion National Park, for six nights and we left wanting more, which I believe to be the best indication of a great stay.  We could literally walk to the entrance of Zion, but Bryce National Park was a day trip away, but well-worth the drive as we have never seen anything like the wonders of Bryce.  Nature at her best.

The wonders of Bryce!

The wonders of Bryce!

Here in Ashland, there is a 93-acre park, Lithia Park, that begins/ends right in the heart of the town.  It is an incredible place to hike, sit, ponder, wade in the creek and/or have a picnic.  There is a series of well-maintained trails and if you’re lucky enough sometimes you stumble across something such as this amazing butterfly at rest.  Actually, truth be told, I don’t really know if it’s a butterfly or a fanciful moth, but I’m going to go with butterfly. Either way… Nature at her best.

Butterfly in Lithia Park

Butterfly in Lithia Park

Sometimes, we harness the power of nature.  These massive windmills, strewn across the vast prairies of Wyoming, catch the force of the wind to turn the powerful blades.  Inside the shaft of the windmill there is a generator which converts mechanical energy into electrical energy to be used in homes.  Nature at her best.

Capturing the power of wind

Capturing the power of wind

And every so often you’ll have an opportunity to witness something that is truly extraordinary.  Such as this eclipse … nature at her best.

Eclipse of the moon

Eclipse of the moon

There is a funky old saying that tells us to stop and smell the roses.  Too often we forget to do just that.  We forget what an amazing gift the world of nature truly is.  We are surrounded by it, endlessly, every day.  Maybe we really should stop and smell the roses a little more often.

Earth Day - April 22, 2013

Earth Day – April 22, 2013

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