A Constant State of Present


Nature reminds us of the importance of being in the now

Sitting on a bank on the coast of Sitka, Alaska, it’s hard not to feel like a small piece of something greater. The sweeping views are breathtaking. All the streams and tributaries are loaded with salmon, in a constant state of motion to get back to their original breeding grounds. It’s a sight I am certain I will only get to see once in my life. Not far away is a mother brown bear, so big I can hardly wrap my head around it, gathering dinner for her cubs. They are stocking up for the winter, which will be long and cold here.

Bruce Fox on an Uncruise in Alaska

I’m on a seven-day trip on the shores of Alaska, part of the Uncruise that my wife, Mary Jane, and some family from out west have taken. Unlike a typical cruise, this kind takes you and a small group of 40 or so passengers on a small ship to more remote locations, offering you a chance to see ecosystems and wildlife up close. The crew members are studying marine biology or forestry. One day we’re bushwhacking in the forest with mud up to our ankles. Another we’re in ocean kayaks getting up close and personal with a pod of whales. 

There’s something that nature does to you when you’re so close. You find yourself dialed in to its movements, studying its how and pondering its why. Nature is in a constant state of being present. We humans could learn a thing or two from that.

As I stare at the salmon jumping furiously upstream, unwilling to accept defeat against the raging currents, I’m reminded that life is not always an easy path forward, but if we are determined enough, we can accomplish incredible feats. As I watch the mother bear feed her three cubs before finding something for herself, I’m reminded of how important is to give of ourselves and care for the people you love without expectation. And as I watch the sea lions flop their bodies in surprisingly rapid movements along the shoreline, I’m reminded of the resiliency of our spirit and our innate ability to adapt to changing environments. 

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