The soothing balm of Nature

20170415_113447A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Oregon’s Painted Hills and the Fossil Beds at John Day. I was last there almost 20 years ago and am so happy I went back!
As we were traveling I was thinking about how nice it was to be heading out to explore nature for the weekend and get away from some of the other things that consistently occupy my mind. I was looking at having some time to connect to things that are bigger and more important than my everyday concerns.
As I arrived at the Painted Hills I certainly felt like I could melt into the amazingness of nature. I also became very aware that the trip was not just about getting away or distracting my attention but about really experiencing a bigger picture.

These hills were created over 35 million years ago. Not only that, they are still here. There is something about being in the presence of land that has such history and little touched beauty that is awe inspiring.

But they are here because as they became more known and visited- busier-, we committed to taking care of them. To respecting them. To changing our behavior to ensure that these hills would last. And that is the only reason we get to enjoy them now. Otherwise, they would have been explored to extinction; walked on and eroded. The color would  have faded and at some point they would have no longer been special.
But we ARE capable of deep respect and reverence. My question for you is, do you recognize your own specialness? Do you see your distinct color and feel your vibrancy? Do you respect it? Do you revere it with great care so you can sustain and enjoy it for all of YOUR time?
And when are you going to do something that is just for you? Something that takes you away from those everyday concerns long enough to remember? Remember that YOU have something great to contribute and so much to love!
When are you really going to own how amazing and awe inspiring YOU are?

Leave a comment and let me know!

Lastly, I want to leave you with a thought from one of my favorite poets and philosopher farmers, Wendell Berry. It feels especially pertinent in this time of political unrest and so many people talking about “resistance”.

For me, resistance feels, as the Borg told us over and over again, futile (I love Star Trek) – but, not because there is nothing we can do, but because resistance sets us up to be more reactionary and potentially creates a much bigger divide!
I don’t want to resist or agitate. I want to activate and enlighten.
And to do that I need to soothe the fear in me and find ways to retain my sense of love and inspiration and to explore my curiosity so that I feel alive and vital. Then when I take action, I don’t feel like I am resisting – I am persisting and I am creating the world I want to live in.
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down
where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water,
and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world,
and am free.
Wendell Berry,
from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry
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