September 2016: The Season Sings
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” – Rachel Carson
As I write this, I am enjoying a few days away spent in the Rocky Mountains of Jasper National Park. It is absolutely delightful to be among nature, in an unhurried pace. Nothing to accomplish but refreshing the soul. I am also reminded how much I love autumn. At least the first part: once the leaves fall, the trees are bare, and the world is grey until the snow comes to stay, I find the season a bit wearying. On the plus side, it is always rejuvenating being in nature, regardless of its mood—unless there’s a blizzard.
“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” – George Santayana
Maybe it’s not so much being in nature as connecting with it. One can more readily connect with a blizzard if one is cozy inside their home or cabin. Even the darker moods of nature have lessons to teach us about our vulnerability and need for each other. We are such finite specks in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes I think technology dulls our senses to our vulnerability and need for connection.
At any rate, I agree with John Burroughs: “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” Not only does being in nature regain perspective, it does soothe my soul. It is like there is a reset button that gets pressed when I take a stroll through a forest. Anthony Douglas Williams words it well when he says, “Take a quiet walk with Mother Nature. It will nurture your mind, body, and soul.”
Going for a nature walk gives your mind something else to ponder besides the daily grind. Quiet reflection has a mind-altering ability—no drugs required. Your body moves in unaccustomed ways as it maneuvers the uneven terrain. It may even get your heart pounding and your lungs heaving—life-giving oxygen pulsing to the outermost regions of your body. What the soul experiences is for you to feel as well as contemplate. This is more than a mental or physical exercise—emotion accompanies any outdoor pursuit.
I feel very fortunate that I live in relative close proximity to dramatic vistas and geographic wonders. However, specific surroundings are not required to appreciate nature. Wherever you find yourself, nature is willing to speak to you; or as George Santayana poetically puts it: The earth has music for those who listen.
I realize this blog has borrowed words from several others. Maybe it’s because I find I am at a loss for words to express the eloquence of Mother Nature herself. I do know that my soul is soothed, my mind quieted, by body restored by being where I am.
May you experience the healing power of Nature even if it means stepping out your front door and taking a deep breath of autumn air.
“The muffled syllables that Nature speaks
Fill us with deeper longing for her word;
She hides a meaning that the spirit seeks,
She makes a sweeter music than is heard.”
― George Santayana