04 March 2011

I went for a long walk in the woods this past weekend, the first time that I’d been out hiking for quite a while.  It was a great experience, though I was once again quite shocked at just how little I get out for such things.  While I was there I was astonished by the beauty and wonder of the place, as well as by the clean air and the silence and all of the other things that make such a place so special.  But I was also fully cognizant of the fact that even though I have many beautiful places close by that I can visit, I often choose to stay at home rather than to go out and enjoy the great outdoors.

The natural world is definitely one of the richest elements of the lives we lead on this planet.  Nature offers us healing and peace and marvelous sights that inspire us and give us the sense of awe that keeps us feeling humble as a part of something much, much larger than ourselves.  And all it takes from us is a bit of effort to leave the comfort of our living rooms in order to go out and spend some time in places that motivate and inspire us.

What do you do to get out in nature?  How do you feel when you’re out there?  And if the answer is “really good” or something like that, then the next question has to be, why aren’t you there more often?  I know that I often ask myself that question, and the answer almost always is because work and other obligations don’t allow me to spend as much time in nature as I really want to spend.  So when I do have the chances, I want to take full advantage of them and enjoy them as much as I can.  And as I get older and have less time left on this planet, I want to make more time to spend in and with nature, so that on the day I do leave this planet I can say that I truly did all that I could to learn about and know this world that is one of God’s greatest gifts to me, and to all of us.

Nature helps me.  It calms me, it allows me to renew my perspective.  It allows me to feel a sense of awe and amazement.  Life being the amazing set of interdependent elements that it is, I know that I’m just as much a part of nature as it is a part of me, and I sincerely hope that I never neglect nature or take it for granted, for if I do, I’ll be doing damage to myself, as well.

Nature is another important aspect of nourishing the soul.
After a hike in the mountains where we live, for
instance, I feel a remarkable sense of gratitude and
awe.  My mind quiets down and allows me to see more
clearly the beauty of creation.  And through that
gratitude, the beauty of the universe
is reflected back to the creator.

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