As I write this post, I am sitting in Nashville’s Central Library, in front of a curved window overlooking a beautiful garden. Autumn has come to Tennessee, and the trees are dressed in orange and red. The Cumberland River winds through the city, then flows out into the woods, and across pastures bejeweled with citrine haybales.
Nature is a constant source of joy and meaning in my life. When I walk in the sand, then wade out into the sea to stand buffeted by the waves, I am one with all of existence. Whatever may be happening in my life, it is impossible for me to be in the ocean and not feel absolute happiness in that moment.
Lying in a hammock gazing up through a leafy screen at the clouds moving across the sky anchors me in the present. Walking through a redwood forest, breathing in the smell of the humus and feeling the energy that emanates from those ancient giants, grounds me and centers me completely. I love being out of doors, pelted by the rain, and I love being inside hearing rain beat against the windows. I love gentle breezes and strong winds. I love walking out into a silent world covered in snowdrift.
One of my favorite places is a small park nestled alongside the Hope Princeton Highway in British Columbia. Ever since I was a little girl, we’ve stopped there, and sometimes camped overnight. It’s filled with the scent of pine, and the deafening din of the brook that tumbles over rocks as it makes its way through the mountains.
I am in awe of the creatures of nature with whom we share the earth, including the companion animals who have given me unconditional love and devotion, and shown me how to play and live somewhat more spontaneously.
Nature fills my senses and feeds my soul. When I spend too many hours away from the natural world, I become less than who I really am. And on a very practical level, nature takes me out of the drama of day-to-day life, and reminds me of what is real.