A gusty breeze is blowing leaves all over, bouncing across the yard doing cartwheels and backflips.

The warmth of the sun continues after our first run-in with a winter blast of snow.

One day I sat in the sunshine accepting the vitamin D from the ample sunshine and watched as a honey bee landed on my foot. As surprised as I was to see it post-snow and frost, I held no fear or a wish to shoo it away (or to kill it...NEVER).

Apparently, it was just shoe snooping for something sweet, syrupy, and sacchariferous. It stayed for quite a while, and I enjoyed its bee company knowing its foreseeable future. If the bee was a worker bee, it was still out looking for pollen for the hive.

Workers are females. I reckoned she was out looking for some leftover flowers from summer or my delectable sneakers.

The drones are all males and are kicked out of the hive as winter approaches, right on the doorstep of their hive.

Speaking of insects... while traveling the other evening our windshield was hit by several bugs. I was again amazed that they had made it through the freezes and snow. Rather a sad way to end their summer.

~~~

We have all lived through some tough times recently. A lot of stress, fear, and uncertainty.

Lost jobs.

The pandemic.

The election.

Other worrisome problems.

If you fall into any of these categories, it is time to get outside. Breathe in some fresh air. And, I believe the epitome of necessities, go for a walk in nature.

Wallace Park in Paola, John Brown Park in Osawatomie, and City Park in Louisburg are available and waiting for visitors to saunter… not sprint… just an easy constitutional to observe and enjoy what nature can contribute to your well-being.

If you are not near a park, find a quiet, serene street or driveway or backyard to merely relax among the trees and tall grasses and wildlife.

We have so many beautiful trees in our area of Kansas. Pick out a certain tree that you find unusual, different from all others in some unique way, or one that always fancies your interest. Make it YOUR tree. Look at it and around it every time you walk by.

I have several trees that I particularly enjoy because of their size and stature and wonder the changes they have witnessed through their many years.

Take a different way. Find peace and joy wherever you can find it. Say a prayer. Create a poem or song in your head. Find an unusual leaf that mystifies you. Place it in a book to keep as a memory.

As a teenager I would come home from school, change my clothes, grab my little Scottie dog and head out into the woods to find solace amongst the flora and fauna. There was a cliffed area where I would sit with my arm around my dog. I just listened. I watched. I collected my thoughts with the sounds of nature until it got dark and we would head home, relaxed, calm, and reposed.

It works.

A CBS anchorman told listeners that he didn’t know how he would have gotten through all of this falderal without the sanctity of walking through Central Park at times. Having been to New York City once in my life, I would find it difficult to relax in that arena. But, if that is what you have, then use it.

Trees and the breeze and the birds and bugs underfoot don’t mind that you’re nearby. In fact, they might enjoy your appearance and understand your reasons for being there… and they don’t talk back… great listeners, though.

~~~

On the day of the election, I was driving back home after making a few purchases in town. Flying overhead near Lake Miola was a small flock of white pelicans. I decided to follow them.

They met up with a group of about 75 to 100 other pelicans. I observed as the birds glided in circles around Lake Miola going higher and higher...at times, as they turned together, almost disappearing in the sky.

The pelicans were skimming the sky northward, I assumed, to Hillsdale Lake. I had been told that people around the lake had been enjoying their antics. They got so far that the birds suddenly disappeared...like magic. Amazing!

I turned around and headed toward home, being met by an over-sized, muddy pickup truck flying a flag bearing negative connotations across the United States.

My tranquil pelican observations suddenly vanished and a feeling of anger took their place.

Upon arriving home, I told my husband about the birds I had seen and thought they were Hillsdale bound.

We jumped into our truck and drove the lake in search of pelicans.

A real sit-back-and-enjoy-the-ride-time.

Beth Conner is a Miami County resident, teacher and outdoor enthusiast. She can be reached at bethconner2019@gmail.com.

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