Ok, so it's cold. And there's snow on the ground. And the sun sets before class is over. As any good native Midwesterner, I approach the differing seasons with excitement. I can't imagine a year without the gradual rise and fall of the temperature and the subsequent shedding and donning of layers. But, I also can't imagine a year without constant availability of escape. Grocery stores stocked with food, climate controlled buildings, and a warm cup of tea.
Last Friday, as the rest of the Cole Student Naturalists and I made the decision to avoid the frigid wind-chills and watch a movie, I found myself wondering what the rest of the animal kingdom was doing. Whether migrating, hibernating, or adapting, none of the true outdoor dwellers were taking advantage of what their own societies provided them, at least not in the sense that I was. I know very little about where my last meal originated and blindly counted on the grocery store to have in stock what I desired to eat, who in turn counted on its suppliers, who counted on some farmer to nurture food for millions of people that he or she had never met. On the other hand, I imagine that the mouse under the snow has a very real sense of what it takes to survive. I am humbled by the self sufficient, direct approach that the fauna of this world have.
While I don't intend to start digging under the snow for my meals or sleeping in a burrow that I dug with my own fingernails, I do intend to watch more closely our co-inhabitants of this earth. I encourage you to take a walk in the Arb this weekend, not because it is pretty (although it is) or because you need the exercise (I know I do), but for the purpose of observation. Watch, and take in everything you can. The engineers, scientists, writers, artists, and general creative thinkers of our human society are indeed creative but there is something quite remarkable and enlightening about the purposeful living that you can only find in nature.
-Griffin Williams '12, for the Cole Student Naturalists