Stop and feel the sunshine

I recently watched a nature show on PBS and a guy came on and said we all need to take a moment to step back, set our hectic lives on pause, and go outside on a sunny day. Turn our faces into the sun and feel the warmth. We are to marvel, if we can, on the fact that it exists.
Ah, yes. The beauty of the natural world is too easily taken for granted. The sun, the plants, the animal life, everything that is around us. We spend so much time indoors behind a desk or behind a television set —or behind our computers —that we have lost our ability to be amazed at God’s incredible creation.
And then the next day I received my copy of that handy 5-inch by 8-inch Department of Natural Resources magazine, Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, at the Daily Globe. That little bi-monthly has often, in the past, been put on a shelf as I moved on to more pressing matters, but the March-April edition contains a delightful photograph of pink and white orchids taken by Jim and Judy Brandenburg.
Jim Brandenburg, it might be fair to say, is a living Minnesota legend. There is an impressive Wikipedia page devoted to him (you know you’ve arrived when you’ve got a page devoted to you on Wikipedia), and for good reason. He is perhaps best known for his more than 25-year association with National Geographic magazine, but his outstanding work also extends into books and filmmaking. His best-selling book “White Wolf” led to a film project on the same topic that has been seen in more than 120 countries.
Brandenburg’s national and international awards are too many to mention here, but it is a point of pride that he was born and raised in Luverne, studied at Worthington Community College and once worked as a photojournalist at the Daily Globe.
The Brandenburg orchids are so beautifully photographed that one might prefer looking at them in the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer than to see them in person. But as beautiful as the photographs are, it is also a pleasure to peer at the remainder of the magazine to see a piece on spruce grouse and Minnesota frogs.
Did you know that there are 14 species of frogs and toads in Minnesota?
Besides that, there is an article on John James Audubon, the quintessential naturalist of the late 18th and early 19th century whose depictions of American birds still fascinates today.
Tomorrow is March 20, the official first day of spring. Happy we are that we’re not still trapped in our sub-zero Minnesota winter and we can now don our spring coats and gaze at the natural beauty that surrounds us. It is easy, as adults, to lose our fascination with the world. But I think we’d be happier people if we took the time to stop and smell the roses — or turn our faces toward the sun.

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