Monday, July 14, 2008

Take It All In

A trip to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior ( awakened our senses. On the 6 hour ferry ride to the island, National Park Service Ranger Paul talked about the environment and encouraged us to “Take it in! Take it all in!”

Pristine wilderness hiking trails gave us mountaintop views of Canada, marshy meadows filled with water lilies and wildflowers, and rocky shorelines with crashing waves.

Pink, purple, yellow, and white flowers popped out of the green brush.

We were ever alert for wildlife. First we saw moose scat, then tracks, and finally, the moose herself.

Squirrel, fox, and hare also crossed our path—or we crossed theirs. The ever-changing sky held white and gray clouds as well as eagles, ducks, loons, mergansers, and other birds.

Our boots thudded on the pine-needle carpeted path. Near the lake, the loons laughed at us (well, maybe it wasn’t personal). The waves hit the rocks with a relaxing rhythm. (To see images of loons and hear their calls, go to

The scent of pine, fresh air, decomposing vegetation, and dirt mingled on the trail. Back at the lodge, we looked forward to the aroma—and taste—of a well-cooked dinner.

We did our best to take it all in.

Taking it all in when we’re on vacation is one thing, but can we remember to take it all in when we’re back home? The robin bobbing in the back yard is not exotic, but is still amusing to watch. The way the ash tree dances in the wind, the smell of steak grilling, and the promise of blossoms on our tomato plants are ordinary parts of our day. And we take it in. We take it all in.

What are you taking in today?

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