217 Days ’til 40: Needing Nature

19 Jul

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. ~ Lou Holtz

A woodland in full color is awesome as a forest fire, in magnitude at least, but a single tree is like a dancing tongue of flame to warm the heart. ~ Hal Borland

Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them? ~ Rose Kennedy 

 Today I was thinking about how we need nature.  I was not thinking about how we need nature in that hippie save the rain forest sense (though I could certainly write on that as well).  I was thinking about how we need nature for ourselves.  I remember once speaking with a fellow counselor who worked primarily with adults who had experienced great trauma in their lives.  One of the things she observed was the fact that many of her clients found their way into nature (forest and beach walks, etc.) as they were healing.  It seemed that after a particularly rough session, many would benefit from taking a break from the world and walking in nature, a bit distant from the people around them.

It makes sense and I often feel the same way.  In fact, it saddens me that there are fewer and fewer places that I can walk alone as a woman and still be safe, as I would like to be able to take that forest or beach walk by myself and really have those alone moments.  Today, often the closest I can come is taking those walks with a friend who is willing to give me the space I need to walk in silence and admire the beauty around me.  Another option is sitting in my yard (small yard) at the back of my apartment or on my balcony… granted the balcony looks less at nature and more at the passing cars, but at least it is outdoors and there are flower pots.

My work is one of the few places I can safely walk in nature as it is a gated campus with lots of trees…. I do not take advantage of that opportunity enough, perhaps I will be more diligent this year.

There is something very health, refreshing and freeing about walking in nature.  If you are having a rough day I encourage you to try to get outside and see if that helps to brighten your mood… take a walk, swim in the ocean, plant flowers.  There is something very grounding about the experience.

Today, 217 days ’til 40, I am going to try to make a conscious effort to be outdoors more – it fills my soul.



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41 responses to “217 Days ’til 40: Needing Nature

  1. The World Is My Cuttlefish

    July 19, 2012 at 00:13

    Sometimes just walking can be restorative enough but a walk in a natural environment both charges and calms.

  2. narf77

    July 19, 2012 at 00:24

    I met a man last year who lives in an amazing cottage by the river. His garden is an ecclectic mix of all sorts of reclaimed and repurposed items interwoven with some of the most beautiful plants that I have ever seen. He has had a pretty tough life and after losing his wife and children after outing himself he became suicidal. He tried to end his life several times after his partner died but something saved him each time…after he bought his little cottage by the river he started walking the shoreline each morning collecting pieces of washed glass that collected on the shore and river pebbles…over a period of months he regained his love for life and was able to look outside his own circumstances and rejoin the world again. Nature gave him back his life and it can do the same for anyone.

    • 400daystil40

      July 19, 2012 at 14:14

      Wow, it sounds like he has an amazing story!

  3. A Table in the Sun

    July 19, 2012 at 01:40

    I totally agree. I escape to nature as often as possible. I might have to drive 2hrs. to get to a wooded trail or a coastal beach, but it’s worth it. In between times, I have my garden and a yard full of 50 or so trees.

    • 400daystil40

      July 19, 2012 at 14:13

      Definitely, sounds like you have a great yard too, when you can’t escape to other places!

  4. ladybelle

    July 19, 2012 at 02:16

    There’s something you can’t explain about being outside and free from tv, radio, computer, other people and just alone with the creator. Like you said, IT fills your soul. I think the IT is God trying to communicate with us. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  5. TreeHugginVamp

    July 19, 2012 at 02:22

    I know the feeling. I used to live in Washington state and spent oodles of time in the woods. Hiking, camping, etc. Now I’m back in NJ and I have the beach, but I miss the woods. The smells, the sounds, or lack thereof. I was lucky enough to just spend 2 weeks in the woods of ne CT and I came back very much revived and motivated to make my life more comfortable and less complicated. You should definitely take advantage of your ‘work nature’ and get out there. It will make a noticeable difference in everything else. 🙂

    • 400daystil40

      July 19, 2012 at 14:12

      I also am more drawn to the woods….. I need to go more!

  6. buckwheatsrisk

    July 19, 2012 at 02:54

    i can’t tell you the difference mountains make, i can’t believe the positive change in how i felt when i was surrounded by mountains, i also hiked in them at least three times a week and it was safe to go up myself as there were usually many rock climbers around on the walls. now i again live in flat land and i’m not liking it at all…there is definitely something very healing about nature.

    • 400daystil40

      July 19, 2012 at 14:11

      Yes, me too – I LOVE being near mountains!!!

      • buckwheatsrisk

        July 19, 2012 at 18:21

        if you ever want to go to a beautiful Canadian place for holiday, Penticton BC…it was my home for two years and I miss it so!

  7. appletonavenue

    July 19, 2012 at 03:48

    Absolutely right. We do need nature; some of us more than others. I’m trying get into the habit when I feel low, I will take a walk. It’s been working so far. Once outside other things enter my mind; pleasant thoughts instead of dark and dreary ones.

  8. Fay Moore

    July 19, 2012 at 03:54

    I love the opening quote so much I am borrowing it for my July 25th quote for the day. Great one!

  9. writerwannabe763

    July 19, 2012 at 04:50

    It’s amazing that sometimes we don’t have or take enough alone time especially as you say walking in nature…I am not used to being alone anymore as my husband and I are together for the most part 24/7…but i need to try I think…Diane

  10. Laura

    July 19, 2012 at 06:16

    I am enormously blessed to live on 6 acres and be totally immersed in nature everyday. It is a gift not to be taken for granted, especially since I know a day will come when the upkeep will be too much for me. I have always thought that for the health of the citizens, it is vital that every city, every little town, every community have parks of all kinds…the natural, the kid’s playground, the rose gardens, the conservatories, etc… It isn’t a want, it is a need, for the soul in all of us.

  11. anjakimberley

    July 19, 2012 at 16:00

    Reblogged this on Anyanka's blog.

  12. The Quiet Borderline (back in hospital)

    July 19, 2012 at 17:38

    I certainly agree with what you wrote.

    When I was in the closed ward the other week for several days, I wasn’t allowed outside at all and when I was released and I first walked out, the sun hit my face and a was surrounded by warmth, nature and all the rest of it. It was a beautiful moment.

    • 400daystil40

      July 19, 2012 at 19:49

      Yes, I bet that made a huge difference for you!

      • The Quiet Borderline (back in hospital)

        July 19, 2012 at 20:37

        It really did.

  13. pamela68

    July 19, 2012 at 18:02

    I went on a school bike trip as a guide to the grand canyon (taking junior highers 90 mi.) One boy who never talked much and always angry went out behind a tree and wept for the first time over his father who had past away. He walked back into camp and declared, “I will not carry that sorrow anymore. I ‘m ready to be happy. ” He did and he was a changed person. Another boy wrecked and got a tree limb stuck through his finger. I asked if I could pray for God to heal him and God healed up the wound. We spent the rest of the day just walking our bikes as he asked me all about God and wanted to hear stories from the Bible. When we walk through nature we inhabit God ‘s nature and into his embrace. It clears our minds. I wrote a post on backyard revelations you might enjoy

    • 400daystil40

      July 19, 2012 at 19:48

      Thank you so much for sharing this story of the powerful experience the young man had with your group! How wonderful that you were there and could provide him with support and guidance.

  14. saymber

    July 19, 2012 at 18:24

    Lately I’ve been “starved” for my daily sessions out with “Momma”. They are doing road construction behind our house and dust is too thick for consistent exposure. Nature is my church, healer and greatest confidant. One of my primary suggestions for coping with the struggles of life is to take a walk, do some Tai Chi or a “sit” with Momma and Dad. I feel so calm after I spend time in nature. One of my favorite memories is sitting with my dog Sam at a park we used to go to and just sit looking at the passing clouds.

    • 400daystil40

      July 19, 2012 at 19:48

      I understand completely! I love going to the park and staring at the clouds!

  15. marsha4852

    July 19, 2012 at 18:25

    I agree it’s great to have somewhere nearby where a person can go to revel in the nature around us. I grew up in a small city that still had a wooded area behind our house, where we spent most of our time playing. My city also has gardens to enjoy along with garden walks to enjoy the landscaping homeowners have provided.

    Personally, as a Christian, I see nature as a way to get in tune with God, the creator of the heavens and the earth. It is so easy to forget to pay him homage in our busy lives, but when taking those nature walks, it’s much easier since we are already appreciating the nature around us.

    I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to reblog this post. (I hope it goes to the correct blog).

    • 400daystil40

      July 19, 2012 at 19:47

      Wow, what a great comment! I agree with you!

  16. marsha4852

    July 19, 2012 at 18:26

    Reblogged this on muchadoaboutmanythings.

  17. Stephen

    July 19, 2012 at 22:00

    Great thoughts! Thank you for the recent “Like” on my blog. Feel free to check back for updates when you’re not out enjoying nature…

  18. sdunnebacke

    July 19, 2012 at 23:06

    Yes – do it!

    I’m fortunate enough to work at a nature center, and so take in a stroll around this remarkable natural setting in the middle of Lansing almost every day. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate being able to do that.

  19. Spider42

    July 20, 2012 at 14:25

    There are few joys in life than time spent in a beautiful garden or natural space that appeals to you – some of my happiest moments in life have been while in more “rugged” and outdoorsy places.
    Not necessarily rural or cut-off, just away from the mayhem, madness, multitudes and rat-race filled urban world. I think what we need is a healthy balance of the two – we all need to find time to do both things, some will always more than others, but its the lack of connecting with nature that is dangerous.
    I’m reminded of a conversation a while back about how kids today don’t play outside. Eventually it flowed (as chats do) and we came to the conclusion that not being outdoors and going on picnics and exposed to nature – both the good and bad – and being made to spend time in a garden, maybe doing some gardening, seeing something they planted grow and blossom, all these things are becoming less and less normal and the younger generations (through no fault of their own even) are becoming less and less connected to our planet as an entity and are not learning respect for nature.
    And the families that think “we go camping once a year” or something like that, need to assess how regularly and since when have you been taking your kids because for these things (in my mind) the younger the start, the better. And when you’re there, does Dad spend time fishing and fighting with the now petulant kid who wants video games? Does Mom chill and read and snooze or some such? Do they take an RV with all the amenities instead of going simpler? Maybe leaving TV and all the frills behind?
    I think we need to connect with the world as a whole, as a species. After all, it’s like the saying goes:
    “The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” (Mark Twain)

    And if you believe in an Earth spirit/soul – like the Gaia concept or some such – then I would ask how you think an entity like that would react to what we’ve done to our environment? And how patient would he/she/it remain for how long? It’s all supposition, but to me all points of view can help gauge and gain a better perspective, something we’ve long lost right now.

    • 400daystil40

      July 21, 2012 at 22:06

      Very good points! I am so saddened that kids do not play outside today, usually not because nature is dangerous, but the people out there are…. so sad. I used to go camping all the time growing up, and there is nowhere near our home to even take our kids camping… they end up going to hotels or relatives homes…. so very sad. We are killing our earth, it is sad. 😦

      • Spider42

        July 23, 2012 at 08:51

        well plan extended weekends for camping/cabin vacations, give the kids an extra day off once or twice a year and go on such a trip – go picnic-ing and such more often and maybe drive to the nicer areas away from your city or something for just a day, maybe some place with some nice green field or a small stream you can play with them in… there is a lot you could come up with if you think on it. 😉
        Best of luck with it! Cheers.

  20. Lucianus Mauricius

    July 23, 2012 at 07:03

    The moments I’ve spent in nature have the the happiest and most mind calming of my life. There’s an inner peace at being surrounded just the the sounds of wind, leaves moving, birds singing and almost absolute human presence. Nature must be enjoyed alone, only than your inner voice comes through, the peace and calmness which characterizes nature’s beauty.

    • 400daystil40

      July 23, 2012 at 09:00

      Ah yes, I love enjoying nature, but can also enjoy it with my daughters, just in a different way.


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