Nature Therapy

I was tired, scared, heart-weary, and sad. It had been a life-changing week for friends and family. And for me, too, by extension. I hadn’t been sleeping or eating well and my brain remained too unfocused to write or read. And forget about meditation those first few days; I couldn’t sit still let alone focus on my choppy breath. I tried doing a little yoga on my own, as I usually do, and couldn’t quite get into it. I thought if I took a class with others, the community energy would recharge me. And it did, for a while. All good tools to have in my toolbox–I’m grateful for them. They do work. Yet– I was still restless.

Today I decided to get back into the woods, it had been a long week away. Although it is Hades-hot here in NC right now, I still needed to walk amongst the oaks, beech, and pines, past the lake with geese, turtles, ducks, bass, bullfrogs, and swan. I needed to hear birdsong and insect-buzz. The slow trickling of the small stream. I knew if anything could get me out of this fog, even for a minute, it would be nature. I was right. I stepped onto the tree-lined path. And…

As I walked I prayed for a friend who was at that very minute receiving their first chemotherapy treatment, and another friend whose grandson was involved in a life-threatening accident, and my cousins and uncle who had just lost their beloved mother and wife, and various friends and family that I know are struggling, coping, doing their best, and hoping. And in that walking and praying for others, I felt at one with all of them. And I felt at one with nature. There I found my peace. Wendell Berry writes extensively on the virtues of nature. One of my favorite quotes comes from his essay, An Entrance to the Woods:

“All day I have moved through the woods, making as little noise as possible. Slowly my mind and my nerves have slowed to a walk. The quiet of the woods had ceased to be something that I observe; now it is something that I am a part of. I have joined it with my own quiet.” 

And that’s exactly how I experienced it. His words much more succinct than mine.

*All photos taken by me August 1, 2016

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