The Beautiful Nature We Have Left – Painting of a Neighborhood Forest

It’s been a very cold winter, and while I am glad the winter is finally cold again after so many years of more temperate winters, I am still looking forward to the warmer spring!

This oil painting is of a narrow winding park in my neighborhood, through which a creek runs through.

At certain times of the year, you can observe great blue herons flying along the treetops or wading in the water. The forest is full of the sound of birds singing, all throughout the year. Occasionally you will see ducks enjoying a relaxing float down the creek. Wild blackberry bushes grow at spots along here. I’ve seen wild turkeys here, snakes wiggling their way through the water, and toads hanging out on the forest floor. There are thousands of tadpoles each spring. I’ve also seen many deer, and red foxes. An owl hoots it’s tune, which can be heard from several blocks away, at what seems like random times throughout the day. I’ve seen a cooper’s hawk in the trees, and eagles soaring above.

The value of the diverse beauty of these landscapes is immeasurable and cannot be measured in terms of dollars. Yet, land is often seen in terms of its dollar-generating potential. So forests are clear-cut and wetlands are drained. The landscape around where I live has changed considerably in the past 10 years. Many forests and wild fields have been cut, flattened, and paved over to make way for homogenous energy-draining data centers. A beautiful forest near my neighborhood was recently clear-cut for a mega-church and a data center. Another was cut down for a gas station (of which there was already a gas station a quarter mile away). My heart sinks when I pass by these places and see what has happened. Am I the only one? Does anybody else feel saddened when they see these things? I imagine so, but also know that many call this “progress”. I’m not so sure.

Some recommended books relating to these topics, that I’ve read, include Charles Eisenstein’s “Climate – A New Story”, and “Sacred Economics”, as well as Douglas Tallamy’s “Nature’s Best Hope”.

In spite of the tearing down of nature, of which I am inevitably a part of, since it is baked into the economic system that we inhabit, I am still appreciative of this patch of forest nearby. It provides a wonderful backdrop of imagination and exploration for my kids to play in, throughout all four seasons.

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