Celebrating Nature by Hobie Hare
In August 1994 I became a “naturalized Montanan,” and some 22 years later, it is still an incredible place to call home. I was first attracted to Montana via a graduate school summer internship teaching English to international students in an outdoor setting not far from Yellowstone during the summer of 1992. The students all went home and I eventually found a way to stay, first as an international and outdoor educator, then later as a naturalist guide and Yellowstone National Park ranger. I’ve taught at Montana State University and the University of Montana, so I am both a Bobcat and a Grizz fan.
What drew and kept me here, though, were the wild landscapes, the large numbers of wildlife species that still call Montana and the Northern Rockies home, my affinity for cold, snowy winters, followed by dry, warm summers with lots of time spent on the water. I’ve always loved learning about nature and sharing that with others, and putting down roots in Montana has slowly, surely, and serendipitously led to the nature connection, mentoring, guiding, speaking, and photography work that I am called to do. Thankfully, over the past two decades, technology has also allowed me to expand how I support and serve others in creating a deeper connection with nature.
When I started coming out as a gay man about 12 years ago, I briefly envisioned leaving for larger cities such as Portland, Seattle, or Denver, but realized how vital nature connection was, not only to my own coming-out process, but to other life priorities. Fortunately, I met another outdoor lover, Erik, in 2008, and together we’ve made living in Montana work for us. We still scheme, dream, and travel to experience what larger urban areas have to offer, but at the end of the day, Big Sky Country is home.
No matter where our individual homes may be, though, the arrival of winter brings its own unique challenges. Think ice storms in the US Southeast, citrus crops freezing in Florida and California, blizzards howling from the Great Plains into the Eastern Seaboard, and a numbing string of sub-zero nights and days that folks in Montana and neighboring states have endured since the beginning of 2017.
It’s easy to forget about our own self-care and nurturing in winter. We can even make excuses to not get outside at all, but this is when it’s most crucial to break pattern, move through a little resistance, and get outdoors to connect with nature and with yourself. As George Bernard Shaw once said, “The poetry of the earth is never dead,” and there’s plenty of evidence supporting that when we take action and create time in nature to experience that for ourselves.
Here’s to celebrating the return of longer days now that the winter solstice is behind us and we are well into January. Here’s also to creating consistent, healthful habits: to bundling up, getting outside, enjoying the quiet of the season, and choosing to unplug in order to recharge.
May this new year of 2017 bring all of us wonderful health, prosperity, and peace, and a healthier, deeper, and more consistent connection with nature, too!
A Winter’s Eve
Dark Winter’s Night
Orion’s Belt Shines High
Strikes Fallen Snow
A Tranquil Evening Sky.
It’s a time of year when millions pause
to honor love and peace,
Understanding and Release.
Beneath the Snow a Hidden World
Its Creatures Snug Inside
It’s tempting when the storms come ’round
To retreat, be still and hide.
Yet Love is needed everywhere
On Our One Home Planet Earth
Let’s Shine Our Light This Solstice Eve
And Honor Her Rebirth.
With each seasonal change, Hobie Hare finds his way to Dunrovin Ranch to sit on the “porch swing” with SuzAnne to celebrate nature’s annual cycle. Hobie has a way of letting you close your eyes and follow his voice to that special natural space where your soul is replenished – no matter where your feet are. It is a gift that Hobie has to share, this ability to follow sounds, conjure the sights, and ask our minds to take us to nature to receive its many healing benefits, even when our entire body cannot there. It works and it is such a blessing.
You can connect personally with Hobie by visiting his web site at YourLifeNature where you will find meditation tapes and nature photographs to help build a nature connection into your daily life.
We are delighted to have Hobie contribute a nature celebration article for the Dunrovin Ranch Lifestyle Magazine each month.