Every year in late October, a group of my friends and I get together for two days of immersing ourselves in nature. It began as a one-day hike in the hills of the Appalachia, somewhere from North Carolina to Pennsylvania, but mostly in Virginia where most of us reside.
Somewhere along the way, because of the interest of new members of our group, a day of bike riding was added to the hike, so the one-day excursion became a two-day event. The group has expanded from six to ten or twelve members. We have been doing this for close to twenty years.
This year we spent one of the days fishing on a charter boat. The chance to experience a different kind of nature than the forests and mountains was wonderful. Being able to experience the water, the gulls, the fish, the sunrise and the stories of the captain and his mate brought a different perspective on nature than in previous years.
The interplay between human kind and the environment is never clearer than on the water. The men who make their living on the water are directly affected by what is done. For instance, on the Chesapeake Bay, there is a fish called the menhaden that is used to make fish oil for supplements. They are also the fish that stripers and blues feed on. Because they are over fished for the supplement industry, there are fewer fish for the watermen on the Chesapeake to catch.
In spite of these problems, the chance for a group of men to enter nature in a significant way each year is a treat. Most of us work in environments that are replete with computers and other technological environments where nature is far removed from us. Because of how nature is continually being exploited, like the menhaden in the Chesapeake, we need to be reminded that we are a part of nature, not above it. We should be stewards of the natural world, not abusers of it. Psalm 24: 1-2 states:
1 The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it.
The world and all its people belong to him.
2 For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas
and built it on the ocean depths.
Many of us “moderns” could learn from native peoples around the world who have much more of a reverence for nature than we do. To learn to be awestruck by the incredible surroundings that sustain our very existence on the planet. From the blood eclipse several weeks ago, to the sunrise over the water this morning, everyday, every hour, is filled with wonders that we need to pause in order to observe and honor.
Psalm 4: 1-4
1 Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?