Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Rediscovering Joy - Week #6 - Spending Time in Nature
Up until the last century, people lived attuned to the natural world.
They built their homes out of available materials in nature.
They planted their crops in times of warmth and harvested before cold weather came.
Transportation was by foot, horse or boat.
Medicines were derived from indigenous plants.
Drinking water came from nearby streams, rivers and springs.
People looked to the sky in the mornings and, in the evenings, to forecast weather for the next day.
Movement of the constellations in the night sky were keenly observed and provided subject matter for stories passed down for generations.
People awoke at sunrise and went to bed at sundown.
They watched the habits of wild animals to signal whether or not there would be a drought, or a very cold winter.
Successes and failures in life often were attached to what earth and sky were producing..and whether nature was kind that year..or not.
Lives were inextricably connected to the outside world.
Today, we live more disconnected from nature than at any other time in history.
Our homes are built from materials grown and bought from who-knows-what-or-where. Our environments are temperature controlled, isolated from the elements.
Most of us are completely disconnected from food production.
We travel by vehicles that are temperature controlled and contained, as we rush around from place to place.
As for night sky watching, light pollution withholds the radiance of stars from most people who are in or near cities. And most people live in or near cities.
It is possible for many people to spend rarely a moment out-of-doors.
I am thankful for a warm secure house when the winter winds blow snow against our window panes.
I am also thankful for my air conditioning when the heat outside becomes unbearable.
I am very attached to indoor running water and modern toilets!
But living apart from the rhythms of the earth and its cycles has robbed us of some peace.
Do you remember, when as a child, you leaped at the opportunity to run unrestrained outdoors? When a tall tree with many branches provided endless opportunities for imagination and fun?
Did you ever watch ants at work on a mound of dirt? Or run to catch a butterfly?
Did you play with wiggly/potato bugs and watch them curl into a ball in the palm your hand?
Weren't wild animals of every type - birds, rodents, deer - a source of wonder and amazement?
The outside world was our kingdom and we were the monarchs!
Remember the joy you felt back then?
Start now to take more time outdoors. (Rushing through it to get somewhere else, doesn't count.)
Take your cup of hot chocolate and sit outside for awhile to enjoy the autumn colors.
Observe local wildlife...
Don't just be aware of birds, really watch them. Their behavior is fascinating.
Find something you love to do outdoors - backpacking, fishing, picnicking...
Taking brisk walks or hikes...
In spring and summer, try your hand at cultivating a small vegetable garden. You will be surprised how delicious everything will taste!
Don't allow the coming winter to keep you indoors. You can still go walking, snow-shoeing, snowman-building (you are NEVER too old for that!).
Take in a sunset...or even occasionally, a sunrise. Watch the moon in her phases. Go parking with your husband, (or on a walk) when the moon, resplendent with silver, is full and marvelous.
If you consistently make an effort to spend more time in nature, I PROMISE you will find greater peace.
You may say, "But I thought we were talking about rediscovering JOY."
Well, my friends, when heart and mind are calm and tranquil, there is a PLACE for JOY.
And JOY will come. :)