Posted by: hockeygrl1 | April 25, 2011

The beauty of nature

Today I went for a walk. I’ve been doing this every day lately because my doctor said to. I don’t listen to my iPod anymore, I listen to nature.

We live on a road that has houses on one side and the wildlife refuge on the other. It’s a great place for nature to expand. I always bring my dog with. She makes sure I walk fast enough and gives me some entertainment. Bella, my dog, does get a little annoyed when I stop frequently to pick up rocks. I’m a rock hound; always on the look for my next pretty rock to polish. I pick up mostly agates, but really any pretty rock could end up in my pocket.

Today the sounds of nature were all around us. Bella’s ears perk up when ever she hears a new sound. Today she found out why the Trumpeter Swan has that name. They are every large and as white as snow with a contrasting black beak. I don’t know what scared them to make them trumpet, but it was to our advantage to hear their beautiful trumpet song. They were gracefully swimming in the refuge pond among the tall grass leaving ripples in their wake. It was a graceful and moving sight.

Bella loves to swim out in the pond after ducks and geese too. The ducks will come in closer to shore and Bella swims after them. The ducks will quack at her and swim out into deeper water. Then Bella swims back to shore. The ducks come back closer to shore and Bella swims out…. Get the picture. It never ends!

The ducks swim around pussy willows and tall cattail that are swaying in the warm spring breeze. They take a leisurely trail winding here and there at a slow speed. Bella is standing at attention at the edge of the pond attentively staring at the birds.  I think she’s trying to figure out how to get them. She is a mutt with bird dog breeds in her so I think she feels like it’s her job to chase birds.

We walk further down the road stopping every now and then for me to pick up a rock or to go further down the ditch when a car comes. Bella is well-trained, she comes to me when a car comes and sits or goes further down in the ditch. She’s never chased one (other than mine if I’m going some place without her).

All of a sudden Bella is pulling on her leash. She’s seen something and wants a closer look. I hear the croaking of frogs all around and it’s a frog on the side of the road that Bella is running toward. The frog tries to hop away and Bella hops after it. Yes, I said hop. I wish I got video of it. It made my day. The frog hops again and Bella does to. They keep this up until the frog gets into the water and disappears. Bella is still trying to find it and has her head underwater there are bubbles coming up around her submerged face. Yes, my dog can hold her breath. It was a strange sight for passer-byes. I bet they were wondering, what is that crazy woman laughing hysterically at on the side of the road. It was that kind of funny to me!

Dog swimming in pond

She finally gives up on the frog and moves her attention to the creek flowing near by. The creek has overflowed it’s banks so the pond and creek are now one. It’s flowing through a pipe that goes under the road and is making a gurgling sound. Bella crawls closer to see what the noise is, and is acting like she’s scared. My dog is like a young child exploring the world for the first time, but she’s 4 years old. Once she knows it won’t hurt her, she jumps into the deep water to cool off. You can tell she’s enjoying it as she crouches down and tries to roll in the cool water. She has that look on her face, you know, the one dogs get when they’re happy. Once she’s cooled off she comes up the ditch and shakes the water off onto me. Bella takes great joy in getting me wet and dirty.

This is our turn around point. It takes us about and hour round trip. (I can get my exercise done in one walk instead of 2) So we’re off to the other side of the road. Bella likes this because it’s all new scents and new area to investigate. I like it because its new rocks to look at, so we’re both happy. On the way back home, we pass a fresh gopher mound. Yes the MN Gophers deserve their name. There are mounds up and down the side of all our country roads.  Bella dives in to dig and I sit on the side of the road for a short break and dig in the gravel while I listen to the red-winged blackbirds sing. Eventually, after digging, sniffing and digging again, Bella realizes she won’t be catching a gopher today and gives up.

Bella walks a little slower on the trip back. This is good because so do I. She is still looking for woodland creatures to chase or kill. I’m not quite sure what she’d do. Bella has caught a chipmunk once and yes, she did kill it. She got it in her mouth and shook it to death. My daughter was traumatized. How could the dog kill something. I had to explain that Bella was just doing what was natural.

We are still listening to the sounds of nature. Here and there we’d hear a louder cry of an owl or the swan, but they are off in the distance. As we get closer to home, our gate speeds up again until Bella can see the house and is pulling me again. I have to stop to get her under control. It’s funny how animals know home.Once we’re to the end of the driveway (we have a long one), I let Bella off the leash and she runs ahead hoping to sneak up on an unsuspecting squirrel for a snack. The squirrel was lucky again.

We head in for water and lunch for me. Tomorrow we will do the same thing if the weather is permitting. It’s become our routine  and it’s relaxing.



  1. There is a book called “Refuge” by Terry Tempest Williams that totally changed my perspective on how nature can heal us. It is about her battle with breast cancer and her visits to a bird refuge. Thanks for this reminder of how nature can make everything a little sweeter.

    • My walks are defiantly part of my healing. My house can get a little crazy and the peace and tranquility of the outdoors is a great relaxer.

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