We cannot live without the Earth or apart from it, and something is shriveled in a man’s heart when he turns away from it and concerns himself only with the affairs of men” – Marjorie Rawlings, Cross Creek
The majority of people lived in the country until right after the Second World War. Living with the land you learn the seasons and the signs of the Earth turning and traveling around the sun. In this swirling and churning the soul becomes accustomed to being part of something greater than itself. Even as I sit here writing this article during the last few days of summer I know fall is on the way.
The light is different, softer and thicker. The morning air is cooler than the ground and mist rises from the creek. The golden rod is blooming, the last few flowers are beginning to fade on the sun chokes, and we knew the hottest days were behind us as the sanctuary’s geese marched to the north end of the farm and then flew southward from one boundary fence to the other. The fawns bounding through the woods have lost their spots and our old hens have all but ceased laying eggs.
Insects buzz and spiders weave their mighty fragile masterpieces, winding sacs to shelter their last hatches before the freeze descends over the Cove in October. Even while the splender of Autumn is still over a month away the trees whisper, “Change is in the Air”.
Every year, sitting in the sameness of the natural cycle I am reminded how small we are as humans. I am truly blessed to live in a traditional manner as a part of nature. However, that is a blessing fewer and fewer people experience in modernity. How do we connect to nature without buying the farm?
A group of ladies meets every morning at our local park to take a walk. I’ve yet to be in a US city that does not have at least one small green space. While these areas may not have the full array of an ecosystem, they still provide a place to observe grass, temperature, light, birds, and insects. They still provide a place to remove your shoes and reacquaint yourself with the Earth. Many larger cities have green ways where you can run and even take classes in botany and birdwatching. When I lived in the city I loved to slip away into the parks and just enjoy the sounds of the birds.
Begin being watchful of nature even in the city. Critters show up all around us no matter where we live. From butterflies alight on the flowers outside of the office building to the seagulls begging for scraps at the McDonald’s dumpster there are opportunities to observe nature within “man’s domain”.
Even in the smallest apartment you can still grow a plant or two. Caring for, tending, and watching a plant grow from a small seed is an amazing process to watch. It reminds us of how miraculous life truly is. After all, we were all that small once.
Volunteer and Care
Another way to connect to nature is to get involved with conservation efforts. This requires becoming educated about the issues facing our environment on both the local and global level.
Pick up trash from the streets, volunteer to plant trees, and spend time cleaning the roadways. This may not sound like self care, but it gets you out of the world of man and back to your roots.
Nature is not something separate from human kind. We are part of nature. When we divorce ourselves from the natural world we divorce ourselves from our history and from our future. There is a reason why new reports state spending time in nature lowers blood pressure, assists in preventing preterm births, premature death, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Read a good boil down of the study HERE. Nature, the Earth is our heritage as human beings. When we cease to be concerned only with the affairs of man our hearts expand, they beat, we live fuller, richer, abundant lives.
Be Well and In Peace,
Previous articles in the Self Care Series:
One Hour A Day Self Care: Why and Time
One Hour a Day Self Care: Gratitude
One Hour a Day Self Care: Physical Activity
One Hour a Day Self Care: Pets