I’d be surprised to discover that the feeling is not universal or mostly so. That feeling that washes over me, when I step, sometimes just outside my front door and a breeze brush my cheek. Or, in the park or reservation, when the loudest sound I hear is the rustling of branches and leaves or animals crunching on nature’s carpet. I simultaneously feel invincible and in awe. Nature has a way of putting all things into perspective and stretching things out of perspective, perhaps, the Earth’s grandeur looming larger than ever, while making me feel mighty in it - my spirit looming larger than ever. I don’t know how that is possible. Perhaps, and, well, hopefully, you’ve felt it too.
I think most madness occurs between four walls, indoors and away from nature, It is as though negativity is amplified against the walls of rooms and houses, causing it to reverberate, echo, and grow. We can hear ourselves think, but we cannot hear The Universe. Hopefully, you’ve heard it before and know what I mean. If we are alone, indoors, and our inner voice is the voice of sadness or the voice of despair, then it is all that we hear. But once outside, it disperses into the air and into the Universe, breaking into a million colorful particles of light and fluttering away, like butterfly wings on the lips of a spring breeze. Perhaps, hopefully, you’ve witnessed this, too.
Writing in Nature
At first, at least for me, going to the woods can seem like a chore. Though, I am luckier than most. I live in an area rich with parks, reservoirs, and reservations with trails and benches. Still, I sometimes do battle with myself. At home, the temperature just right. The tea kettle just a few steps away. There’s a bathroom nearby. I’m a practical woman. It’s almost as if the mind undermines. But then, once I take that first step, away from the walls, I feel it. Like a whoosh. Is it air? Nature? God? I don’t know, but it comes each time, and it beckons me to stay.
Mother Teresa once said, “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence…We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
Call it what you will. I wish not to debate beliefs, but to pay some homage to that which I call nature and the Universe. And I think, not only do we need its silence, which is its own song and not really silence at all, to touch souls, but we need it in order that our own souls can be touched.
But nature isn’t silent. In nature, you can hear the slightest sound amplified. There is a power out there, in what seems like stillness but is life and light. It moves me. And yes, it touches my soul. I look up then, to the sky, God, the Universe. The vastness. I am but a speck and yet this air breathes new life into me, like nothing else, and I let out an internal, primal, mighty roar. I am powerful. My energy and spirit are restored.
Putting pen to paper in nature is magical. It’s so hard to whine and complain with the brook below me. It’s so hard to be angry about, what suddenly becomes manageable or even trivial, as I look at the enormity of what is around me.
Spring is here. I invite you, encourage you, to give yourself the gift of taking a walk in nature. Research studies have proven time and time again that there are mental and physical health benefits that come from walking in nature, but I’m certain Mother Teresa and Camus were not worrying with studies. There’s a knowing, and you will know too, once you set out into nature.