When does Nature talk back?

I've always wanted two-way communication with Nature. As a kid, I longed for my cat to tell me why he walked away while I was petting him. I wanted to know what the birds were saying as they chirped outside my window. As I walked into the woods behind my house, I always felt like there were ethereal messages lurking in the trees and the moss; maybe someday I would learn to hear them. In biology class, I loved learning about the intricate systems in each of our cells, from osmotic pressure to mitochondria; finally, I might be able to de-code some of the mystery of the natural order of things, I thought. As a young adult, I was initiated as a priestess of an African spiritual tradition. The divination systems I learned were another way this invisible realm was made accessible to me. Then there's my habit of noticing the way certain animal totems show up in my world, like the "Writing Spider" surprising me on the visor in my car one recent morning, which I took as a nudge to spend more time writing, especially since I had prayed for spiritual direction the day before. Even the reason I fell in love with rockclimbing is related to this quest; climbing is an opportunity to experience hands-on, vital intimacy with the idiosyncracies of a particular piece of rock.

Today I got up and headed out to walk and watch the sunrise. Squatting on the cold, snowy bank, near my favorite neighborhood creek, I watched the way the water flowed across the rocks, making bubble patterns, gurgling. I noticed how hard it was to actually discern the gradual addition of light into the day. I wondered why the bubbles form at the points in the creek they do... what shape do the rocks need to take in order for air to combine with the water in that particular bubble-forming kind of way? I watched the way the stream of bubbles tended to hug one side of the creek as they flowed, and then to dissipate as the current diffused in the calmer pool downstream. I looked at the floating bubble constellations, each one a unique and temporary "bubble island", some with one large bubble and lots of small ones, and others with many smaller bubbles. There were varying sizes, from one inch in diameter to around two inches. Definitely there seems to be an upper limit to how big these bubble constellations can get. 

Then my senses wandered back to the level of light, and the fact that the sun was rising, and how I couldn't actually "see" the difference in the light levels. As I watched this, all of a sudden, I saw a perceptible change in the day light. It was so small, but so distinctly noticeable, it almost jolted me. It seemed like all of a sudden it was daylight, when before it had just felt like "sunrise". As if I had seen the light saturation point at which our bodies cognize "daylight". Is that what sunrise technically is? I always wondered about that. How do they know when the actual sunrise is, anyway? Like today, I had checked, and sunrise was technically at 7:23 AM. By what standard is this determined? Wait... does that mean it's possible to "see" the sunrise, to see that invisible boundary between night and day, with one's own eyes? Quickly, I pulled out my phone to see what time it was. I was shocked to see that it was precisely 7:23 am! I sat for a moment, stunned. Had my eyes actually been "tuned" in enough to observe that? It certainly seemed that way. Coincidence or actual awareness? Hmmmmm.

So here's my take away from this morning. If we treat Nature like a lover, like a friend, like a dear family member, and notice her precise movements, she'll talk back! When I was "making love" with my attention and intention to those bubbles in the stream, it's the same inclination as when I say to a friend "Wow, the excitement I am hearing in your voice right now, it sounds like something new. It has a really open and deep quality to it." We all love to be heard and seen in that way. So this morning, it feels like I experienced that with Nature. We can feel and experience and celebrate her mysteries, of which we can rest assured, there are an infinite supply.