Becoming Nature Ninjas

I’m going to guess that if you are reading this (or having it read to you,) you most likely enjoy being in nature. I’m also going to go out on a limb and guess that you are also a child or at least a child at heart, and what child or child at heart doesn’t like ninjas? So today I am going to suggest a radical new idea, becoming a Nature Ninja. What on this great, green Earth could that be? Well, if you like nature you clearly must like being in nature and if you like being in nature, I’m going to guess that you like to see the things that live there, right? Birds, butterflies, deer, fox, toads, turtles, the list could go on and on. These things aren’t always easy to see though are they. We often scare them away. So what do we do, we start training of course, as Nature Ninjas!

The first step in our training is to understand animals. Ever try to catch a toad in your yard only to have it jump away as you reach for it? How about a snake, ever try to get a closer look at a snake sitting in the sun? I’ll bet that more than once you only got a closer look at the tip of its tail as it slipped silently away. Animals almost always seem to have the jump on us. They see us as threats, something that either wants to eat them or cause them harm. So, understanding this is our first lesson. We learn to be calm and careful. This will be less threatening to the animals we wish to observe. We don’t get too close and we don’t try to catch anything. Let’s just enjoy having a good look, then walk away.

The next step in our training is learning to be quiet and nonthreatening. We learn to be cautious and easy when we approach. This means silent, just like a ninja. We do this by walking slowly and taking soft steps and using soft voices. When we can become quiet and calm, we will be viewed as less of a threat. We walk slowly on silent, sneaky feet, then stop before we get too close. Have a good look now, it may be the only one we get!

Ninjas are well known for their fighting and weapons, but in the heart of every ninja is calm, quiet, and understanding. Am I suggesting that we all become martial artists? Of course not, but if we can use some of the ninja’s skills, maybe we can enjoy nature a bit more. Try being as sneaky as possible when watching birds. Try walking as softly and calm as you can when approaching a frog or a turtle. I’m not saying you’ll become a pro at catching them, that isn’t the point. The point is to make us better observers and in that, better naturalists. A Nature Ninja


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