IN EVERY WALK with nature one receives far more than he seeks—John Muir.
Those words, imprinted upon a memorial plaque at River Bend Nature Center in Faribault, hold a depth of meaning worth pondering. To think that every walk outdoors gives us more than we expect, or search out, seems valid. Especially now, during COVID-19, when many of us are rediscovering the beauty and healing power of the natural world.
Are you among the many embracing the outdoors with renewed enthusiasm and appreciation? I certainly am.
Whether walking at a local park or hiking through a nature center or following a city street or driving along a back country road or even traveling along a busy interstate, I feel a heightened sense of gratitude for the sky, the trees, the land, all that surrounds me.
And as autumn presses on toward winter, I also feel an urgency to get outside. On foot before ice and snow pack trails and I feel less secure in my footing. Maybe this will be the winter I buy metal grippers that clamp onto my boots. Maybe this will be the winter I reclaim my youthful enthusiasm for the season.
Many days I long to get away. Away from traffic and noise and busyness and people to the quiet of woods, the silence of the prairie, the peace that nature offers.
There’s so much turmoil now. Too much hatred. Too much dissent and too much untruth and too much of everything that’s mean and unkind and disrespectful of others. I yearn for a world where we all hold genuine compassion and care for one another.
I’ve never, in my sixty-plus decades on this earth, witnessed such chaos, discord, selfishness…
I have within me the power to act with decency, with empathy, with understanding. With kindness.
To settle my mind into a frame of peacefulness, I embrace prayer and nature. To do so is to receive more than I seek.
Currently, I am reading The Finnish Way: Finding Courage, Wellness, and Happiness Through the Power of Sisu. A friend, who recently moved to the lakes region of central Minnesota, gifted Katja Pantzar’s book to me. I’m only 58 pages into the read. But already the words written therein about the Finns’ resilience and close connection to nature resonate. In two more chapters, I’ll be into “Nature Therapy, The Benefits of a Walk in the Woods.”
I don’t expect the contents of that chapter to surprise me. Whether walking in the woods or through a city park, we can benefit from simply being in nature. To feel the warmth of sunshine, to hear the rush of wind through trees, to watch water tumble over rocks, to smell the scent of autumn…all calm the spirit, restore peace, and lift moods. What a gift.
TELL ME: Are you rediscovering nature during COVID-19? If so, in what ways has this helped you deal with the pandemic? What’s your favorite nature spot?
© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling