Nuts About Nature or Love the Commonplace Lest it Become Uncommon

Appreciating nature seems all the rage these days.  Finally, Nature is ‘in’.  Bit overdue, actually.  Maybe a bit too late as well – we’ll see.  Keep your fingers crossed.    
Ironically, living in the city increases one’s appreciation of nature – mostly because there isn’t much of the really wild green stuff in an urbanite’s daily existence anymore, I suppose.  Still, we all seem to be onside these days, saving old seeds, recycling, composting, planting and ‘saving’ trees and even ‘stream keeping’ – just to name a few good works.  And it’s all good.
But, like any deprivation, the reinstatement of supply brings about increased if not exaggerated appreciation.  And I’ve experienced that.  I still remember the ecstasy experienced from the power and the glory of that first hot, home-based shower after three years of using a solar bag and a kettle supplement.  God Almighty!  Born and really clean again!  To this day, I savour every shower as if it were the first one.  Like the old song says: “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”
It seems, however, and by comparison to the behaviour of others, I am missing a little something profound about nature’s winged and furry emissaries.  It’s modern day blasphemy, I know, but I consider many of them somewhat commonplace. 
Don’t get me wrong; I like nature as much as the next guy.  More, maybe.  After all, I made the move to the forest for a reason.  But I rarely wax rhapsodic about it and I never get excited at the mere sight of a bird or chipmunk.  Call me naturally blasé. 
Others go nuts for nature, flip over flowers and fawn over fauna.  I don’t.  I take it somewhat in stride.  I suppose that this is just me ‘being spoiled by the richness of my environment’ but I kind of expect to see birds in the woods.  Call me crazy.   
Many people literally quiver with excitement at the first hummingbird of the season and, while I like the little fellows, I don’t contact the local papers or phone my friends.  “Yo, J.P. give me a call when you get finished with that corporate merger.  I wanna tell you about the little Rufus hummingbird that just came by.”  I don’t think so.  I am already having trouble getting J.P. to call as it is. (Honestly? He thinks I am too far out of the loop now to be worth calling back.  Interesting, eh?). 
I feel much the same way about eagles and seals and squirrels if you must know.  They come. They go.  They are great.  It’s all good.  But it is the way it is.  Or should be.  Get over it.
But I am in the minority it seems.    
I would never admit such feelings in a local gathering of gentle, sensitive, new-age nature lovers. They love those things to death!  But they’d head-stomp me if they thought me unappreciative.   They are not very tolerant of apathy.  They’d hurt me bad.  You’ve gotta be careful what you say ambivalent about birds.   That sort of thing would get around.  “See that guy…?  He doesn’t like Hummingbirds!”  I would literally be a marked man. 
And, honestly, I like them fine!  Really!  It’s just that a sighting is not an earth-shattering event.  To me, it’s all relative.  Birds and bees.  Get a grip!  These people get orgasmic over the first salmonberries of the season, are overwhelmed by a Pileated woodpecker and the air is thick with anticipation when the Pigeon Guilmots come to the neighbourhood.  Wine, women and song break out like Salal berries at the first sign of Salal berries.  It’s a pagan’s world out here.
Maybe I am just being too cerebral?   
I confess to a little excitement when someone catches a salmon but that is mostly because I have sunk tens of thousands of dollars into futile attempts at catching one and feel, somehow, a vicarious sense of justice being levied on the sensuous but elusive beauties whenever I see one post mortem – preferably stuffed and baked on a plate placed before me.  I am not so sure that qualifies as nature appreciation.  But it is a natural appreciation of some kind.
Once in a while, even I get a thrill.  Last year two humpback whales visited and did a few Sea World-like tricks.  That was pretty neat.  Several locals passed out in a swoon (they obviously don’t get out much) and I must admit I enjoyed myself immensely.   There’s a huge sea lion that commutes by every day and I like seeing him.  Same for the dolphins and porpoises.  The key word, though, is ‘like’.    
Occasionally some sort of nature show really impresses me.  A herring ball is something special to see nowadays and, sadly, rarely seen much anymore by anyone anywhere.  But I have seen one.  An eagle grabbing a salmon and, not being able to get airborne with the catch, swimming to shore with it and dining al fresco is a most impressive display of ‘doing lunch’, I must admit.  Catching a Pacific octopus in a prawn trap is always good for a few shrieks and laughs.  And it feels good letting it go.  And the somewhat irregular sightings of otters, mink, martens and bears always produces the obligatory ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’.  I don’t begrudge that.  I ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ too.
But butterflies, sparrows, wrens and chipmunks are commonplace.  Garter snakes, ravens and gulls are ubiquitous.  I know seals.  I know crows.  And I know deer – they are more numerous than bureaucrats on the gulf islands.  Admit it.  And herons, Canada geese and raccoons are verging on boring.  I’m sorry.  You gotta tell the truth about this.
And I’ll tell you the truth: I’m only pretending to be blasé.   It is all fabulous. 
Even the commonplace.

Thank God for the commonplace.

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