Otis & Friends 2I’m Otis, Prairiewoods’ favorite squirrel, and I’ve taken over this blog for 2016 in honor of Prairiewoods’ 20th anniversary. You’ll hear from me or one of my friends each Friday.

Over the years, I have become good friends with Kathy Petsche, who volunteers in the office and helps plan and facilitate some programs at Prairiewoods. Here are Kathy’s thoughts on being surrounded by nature …

The sun crawls down and over at the top of the hill, gently bringing a slowly setting sun tonight on Bramblewood, what we call the 10 acres we have been blessed to live on for many years.

Creeping down, the darkness celebrates the day of sun … The mix in the bare trees, the shadows on the new grass. A new season is unfolding.

Being blessed and surrounded by nature, I have come to a complete stop from what I am doing and taking that precious time to bring into my heart and soul Mother Nature and God’s full glory. I watch the birds and the deer settle down, and I am soaking in the colors and mixtures of the sky above me. It humbles me almost to my knees.

The trees speak out as if to say and to remind me that they will remain tall through the night and reassure me that they will be right where I saw them last as the darkness settles in.

The birds go quiet for the night. And I know that with spring here, I will wake up to their beautiful music.

And then I am reminded of the bird feeder that the squirrel won’t leave alone as I gaze across the field. He has defied the “guaranteed” squirrel proofing and I have just decided that I can live with his defiance as he has once again arrived at the top of the pole, and has lifted the lid to help himself. I am sure he is a distant country “relative” of Otis. And I know that I will fill that bird feeder again at least one more time before summer fully blossoms and he will empty it out again.

frog_smallThe frogs are back on the pond and even though right now this very evening, I am thrilled beyond measure they are assembling their chorus of “ribbits” of many into the night. I will lie awake on a warm summer’s night when we open up the windows and they will be even louder, and I might lose some sleep, but an afternoon nap on the back deck will catch me up if needed.

Nature, the universe, the energy that supplies all of this beauty, the oneness we can experience, this sacred place of which we live and share together. I pray that we all take a moment or two, or three, and stop whatever we are doing and soak it all in.

—Kathy Petsche, volunteer and facilitator