Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Be Sure to Get Outside This Holiday Season

Thanks to Chris Takacs for this wonderful photo of DeKorte Park!

My job as President of Bergen County Audubon Society keeps me behind the desk much more than I would like,to say the least. Fighting and standing up for our wildlife and environment seems to be neverending. We just seem to go from one endless battle to the next.

As soon as I think we will have a few minutes of peace there is some entity that wants to destroy habitat, threaten endangered species or undo some long-standing protections we believed would exist forever. But as anyone knows that speaks up for what is right there will never be an end as long as greed, indifference and injustice exist in the human condition.

But we as nature lovers can find our strength and endurance in the very thing we love and fight for, nature. Speaking for myself, I need and search for it even more during the holiday season.

I always believed that all people that have made nature a part of their lives have an undeniable special connection to the natural world.  Call it emotional or spiritual, divine or magical, either way I believe we all feel something very special when we spend time in the wild places we have come to love so much.

It may be a different feeling for all of us. We may not speak about it much or discuss it at meetings but we know it is there. It is hard to put into words and we may not fully understand what it is all about or maybe we are not supposed to even begin to try. But we  all know how being out in nature restores our hearts  and rejuvenates our souls.

No matter what is going on in our hectic and sometimes overwhelming and complicated lives, there is no mistaking that a walk in the woods or even  just the sight of a favorite bird makes us feel just a little better about the day. Keeping a Holiday connection to nature can make that time even more enjoyable and special.

It might be a Cardinal just outside the kitchen window framed against the winter snow that brings back memories of  family at holiday time. A fearless Chickadee  that reminds us of a childhood holiday  or  a Raptor soaring overhead that makes us smile quietly to ourselves with a sense of contentment and connection to the season .

Most of our Holiday season may be spent between concrete walls and immersed in hi-tech devices, but our connection to nature is eternal and undeniable and to the nature lover there is no better way to immerse ourselves in the holiday season than making the outdoors part of the celebration. When we are fortunate enough to do it with our family and friends it makes it even more of a wonderful time of year.

To a birder no “Black Friday special” or “Cyber Monday coupon” could take the place of a flock of Cedar Waxwings feeding on Winterberry or a Kingfisher clattering over a pond . No check-out line or late night shopping will ever be a substitute for a Sapsucker strutting up a tree or a flock of Goldfinch in a backyard Birch.

No matter how you will celebrate the season,  take a break from the stresses of life, the traffic and the noise, grab a friend, neighbor or family member by the hand, and take a walk at a local nature center or even a stroll through the backyard.

Take in and relish all nature has to offer. It will make this special time of year mean even more and give you all the strength you need for the battles ahead. Happy Holidays to everyone. See you at the Meadowlands.

Source: FS – Nature Photography
Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Be Sure to Get Outside This Holiday Season