Peace of Nature

Inner turmoil
ends when I see you
 
Swirling storms
calm with your words
 
Floundering spirits
stand strong when you guide along the way
 
Worry dies
when I look into your eyes
 
Confusion clears
when your voice hits my ears
 
Pain becomes
pleasure when your heart touches mine
 
And it does.
 
When I see the leaf sway and hear the singing voice of the breeze and the bird pointing the way to the eye of the storm,  my heart lies safely embraced in the heart of Nature.
 
The heart, voice, eyes, guidance, words and vision of Nature keep us whole.

 

Why should Thoreau get all the Marrow?

Are you the water, the trees or the sky? Or, are you the reflections upon the water?

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die discover that I had not lived.” Henry David Thoreau (Walden).

To me, living deliberately means to live life with your mind wide open. Understand life, Nature, and where you fit in. Too many times people live on autopilot. They awaken to the sound of an alarm clock because they must be at their workplace at an arbitrarily set standard time. They drink coffee (or my favorite, Mountain Dew) to give them the strength to meet their day. They eat lunch at noon because that is when everyone else does it. They work 40 or 60 hours per week because it is expected and because they need the money to live. They arrive home overwhelmed and exhausted. They watch TV until going to sleep when they start their cycle over again.

In a deliberate life, one in tune with reality, we would awaken to the sound of birds singing after just the right amount of sleep. We would be ready to do our thing without caffeine or the electronic coaxing of an alarm. We would rise early in the summer and sleep later in winter. Humans are to some extent keyed in to light cycles and the seasons. We would eat when we were hungry. If we think it out, we would be much better off to acknowledge that fact and then live that way.


Think about the way we eat. I can get berries at just about any time of the year. In the spring, the strawberries are the best. They are locally grown, fresh and in season. I can get them the rest of the year. But, they have been picked too early in order to keep them “fresh” through a long shipment. They don’t taste quite the same. Something is not quite right. A life lived by default is the same way.

You may be able to show up at work the same time day in and day out. You may be able to go thorough the motions. Wouldn’t you rather do things in their proper season and savor them all the more because of that? A Winter strawberries just aren’t that good.

Understanding how we fit into Nature, how our natural inclinations interact with and fit into the cycle of things, allows us to live more deliberately. Don’t accept someone else’s version of reality just because it is there. Do some hard work of your own. Explore a ravine. Hike a trail. Sit in a cold stream. Feel how these experiences change you. Think about why. What do you learn? A Where do you fit into it all? A We each have our own path through Nature. We either know it and live it, or we are lost.

What is your path?

Once you know. Live from that place of knowledge. Live a life consistent with your internal compass. Don’t listen to what others say you should do. Do what you know to be right. That is the way of Nature, and humans are an integral part of Nature. By virtue of being you, you have the right to reach your full potential.

Now get outside and get to know yourself and your own Nature. Then, live it deliberately.
 

Putting the brakes on "The Acceleration of Addictiveness"

I recently read a blog post on The Acceleration of Addictiveness. Being interested in hiking and the outdoors in general, one particular passage caught my eye:

“Most people I know have problems with Internet addiction. Were all trying to figure out our own customs for getting free of it. Thats why I dont have an iPhone, for example; the last thing I want is for the Internet to follow me out into the world. My latest trick is taking long hikes. I used to think running was a better form of exercise than hiking because it took less time. Now the slowness of hiking seems an advantage, because the longer I spend on the trail, the longer I have to think without interruption.”

What better reason to get off the internet and out into Nature?  Not only is it good for your health, and good for your spirit, but it is a good place to escape the pressure of our ever-increasing pace of life.

Hiking is such a contrast to everyday life that it does provide an immediate and deep sense of relaxation, at least to me. My favorite place to hike this week is the Ledges Trail at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Where is your favorite place to unwind in Nature?

 

More evidence that Nature is good for you and not just an extra.

I found this article on the Beacon Journal’s web site and thought I’d share it: Ohio.com – Plants can boost health and spirits in '10: “reduced negative emotions, increased positive feelings, increased sociability and reduced need for health care.”

The article mainly discusses plants and gardens, but there is also a bit about proximity to green space. Take a look and then think about this. We complain about raising health care premiums while there is a way (exposure to nature) to reduce recovery times by large percentages. We worry about the supposed obesity epidemic when one part of a cure is nearly free (Get outside and hike!).

Some of the benefits of green space are felt simply by looking out the window. Think how much more valuable Nature is to people who actually go outdoors and immerse themselves in reality for an hour a day.

While the beginning of the new year is not any different than any other day, maybe we can all use it as an excuse to commit to getting outside in a natural setting every day.

Think about how much better off you would be. If you have kids, start this habit for them right now. Your lives will be enriched beyond measure.

Get outside and enjoy the snow!

 

Tree Farm Trail

We walked the Tree Farm Trail at the Horseshoe Pond area of Cuyahoga Valley National Park last evening with the kids. We got to watch a great blue heron patiently waiting for a chance to spear its dinner in the shallows of the pond. Also saw greater lobelia along the connector trail that takes you to the picnic shelter on the peninsula of Horseshoe Pond.

Back to the topic of the Asters of September, we did see smooth aster, and New England aster along the trail, as well as a host of other beautiful late season wildflowers. This is the perfect time to get out and see these wonderful colorful natural works of art.

I could feel winter moving closer, and see fall in the yellowing leaves of the maples and ashes. Get outside and see the wildflowers before the opportunity is gone for the year. Time flies.

 

You choose- Spring or late summer wild flowers?

I used to pine for the coming of spring, with its trillium, and violets, and spring cress, and toothwort. From the depths of the winter with its colorless lull, I would envision the spring ephemerals and believe these spring beauties were the most magnificent of all.

Now I know, as I remember each year after August, that it is the asters of September that hold the crown. I take that back. It is not just the asters, it is late summer wildflowers in general that deserve the title of the most vibrant visions across the landscape. The goldenrods, asters, Joe Pye, ironweed, thistles. All of these create a tapestry of color on the September hills.

Today I was out on the Cross Country Trail at Virginia Kendall (Cuyahoga Valley National Park). Dozens of wild flowers lined the trail, both in the forested and field sections of the trail. September is the perfect time to see white snake root among other things. White berries weigh down the slender branches of gray dogwood shrubs. Berries abound on non-native Russian Olives, Hawthorns, Doll’s Eye, and many other plants.

After reading naturalist William Hudson’s “Tribute to Late Bloomers”, and getting out to explore Nature in the September sunshine, I think you’ll agree that the Asters and wildflowers of September are a sight we should always remember.

What do you think?