In those vernal seasons of the year, when the air is calm and pleasant, it were an injury and sullenness against Nature not to go out and see her riches, and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth. — John Milton
Only spread a fern-frond over a man’s head and worldly cares are cast out, and freedom and beauty and peace come in. — John Muir
Oh Mr. Muir what wise words you still speak to us across the years! Despite how times have changed from when John Muir walked the earth and now, the human experience is still the same – our fears and struggles, our hopes and healing still flow from the same source and find their answer in the same source. Then, as now, being near nature was soothing and necessary to reclaim quietness and focus. It doesn’t have to be a full-fledged backpacking adventure, you can enjoy the benefits of nature simply by taking a walk, watching backyard birds, or nuturing a houseplant. However, there is something special about pulling away from the routine of life to spend a few days completely surrounded by green living things. I’ve been musing on my last trip to Spring Mill and appreciating the rejuvenation and joy that it brought to my soul.
Like many others, my heart comes more alive when I’m in a forest. I feel thrills of joy as I savor mossy-dripping rocks and hills clothed with ferns. I marvel as I stand among trees that have lifespans far outstripping mine. To peer close enough to be mindful of the spider spinning her web or the caterpillar on the leaf, or the butterfly flitting through sunlight is a wonderful gift. You could spend a lifetime studying leaves – the intricate veins that etch lifelines across their surface, their texture, their shape, their color – every single one is different.
I think this is one of the reasons that I love to be outdoors. I become mindful that the world is not a bland swath of ecosystems. Nature is a teeming mass of millions of individuals. God creates nothing the same. And to look at the care with which He designs and provides for every element of His creation is immensely comforting. Every snowflake, every leaf, every butterfly, every tree, every flower, every person is distinct. God is personal and relational, valuing and recognizing what makes every living thing on this planet unique and special. And He cherishes all He has made. We are all covered with His fingerprints, and when my heart forgets that truth, it needs only to go outside and observe the flowers and ferns to remember it.
Blessings to you,