Noticing the Many Shades of Green

Mary Sharon Moore

Excerpts from the forthcoming book, Nature Notes

© Mary Sharon Moore, 2022

Sitting up high in the back of the McKenzie River-bound bus, I take in a picture-window view of morning sky to the east and north. A thin marine overcast evaporates as morning summer sun climbs in the sky.


From my perch I watch increasing swaths of greenery pass by as we transition from concrete strip malls and blacktop parking lots into the lush, verdant, rural McKenzie Valley, dotted with holly farms, blueberry farms, filbert orchards, ponies, llamas, and sheep.


Early morning sunlight dapples the ground, now, through leafy canopies of every sort. Birch, bigleaf maple, front yard plum and pear trees, side yard apple and cherry trees, all pass rapidly outside my bus window. All of it, a pleasing wash of green.


But which green? I ask myself.


Well, I lean with full attention toward the window as the bus moves at highway speed in the open stretch. The blur of green, I notice, reveals nuances, even as we whoosh along at 55 miles per hour.


I see shimmering early-summer green, cool understory green, the dense green of this tightly planted hazelnut orchard.


I see the cool dark green of backlit leaves of maple canopy, the dark leathery green of Oregon oak.


I see grass green, still sparkling with diamond-like beads of dew. The green of ground cover flecked with the yellows and pinks, pale purples and blues, of wildflowers. And flecked, too, with bright-white grass daisies, and soft-white clover.


As we ascend from broad valley farmland into the rugged terrain of the Cascade foothills I notice now the forest greens of tall stands of conifers.


And now I notice how the moist climate of river and fog brings forth another kind of green—the yellow greens of rock moss, and the silvery green of strap lichens and tube lichens, the scraggly gray-green moss called old man’s beard, which hangs from the branches of trees both ancient and young.


I love the color green, in its varied tints and hues. It calms me, refreshes me. It is the color of many growing things, the color of life.


When I deboard at the Ranger Station and begin my day’s hike along my beloved McKenzie River, I note the liquid deep blue-green of the river, the foaming translucent teal of whitecaps in the rapids.


Green on the river. Green up the steep forest slopes. Green carpeting the forest floor. All of it opening to a piercing blue sky above.


I cannot help but notice the lush verdant life in which I am immersed on this patch of planet Earth.


Noticing things is no small thing. It is an act of worship, a way I am alive in the presence of the Creator, coming more fully alive in the midst of Creation.


I am pretty sure that savoring the abundant riches of my surroundings pleases God no end. In a world full of heartache, I believe that savoring Creation in this way does, in fact, please and refresh the Creator, as much as it pleases, and refreshes, this part of Creation which is me.