The Touch of Nature

It was an amazing summer in Ketchum, ID, neighboring states, and even countries. I had intended to write in my blog at least every week, yet once we were into the summer I felt that we needed to be outside every moment.  Sitting at my computer just didn’t happen as planned.

One of my other goals (that I actually did accomplish) this summer was to put my hands into a river almost everyday.There is something about actually touching nature that can transform your day, your mood and your outlook on life. There are three rivers within 5 miles of our house, as well as endless hiking trails, bike paths and outdoor opportunities. Immersing yourself in nature is not something you have to plan or think about here, you just walk out the front door.

To just walk outside and really be in nature is what I miss so much when we are in Washington. Sure, you walk out the front door and you are certainly immersed in nature in the form of rain drops but it is the appreciation and enjoyment of being outside that makes the experience in the mountains so different. I don’t know how many days, weeks or even months would go by where I did go outside (to and from the car) but without gratitude in my heart. And, in fact, I had the opposite of gratitude in my mind. That seems so sad now. I find myself craving nature, craving the touch of nature. I go hiking in these beautiful mountains and my brain is on full power. The cool rivers, smells of wild sage and the warm sunshine has me so inspired to make a difference in the world, to make a difference for my family and for myself. I have been changed by these mountains in such a short time.

I recently read Your Brain on Nature: the Science of Nature’s Influence on Your Health, Happiness and Vitality by Eva Selhub, M.D. and Alan Logan, N.D.  Here is an excerpt from this important book:

As children, both of us grew up in households where time spent in nature was encouraged, and our current memories tell us that such times in the great outdoors were filled with curiosity, fascination, and discovery, as well as with calm, joy, and happiness. The fragrance of pine and flowers; the sounds of rushing creeks, waterfalls, and ocean waves breaking; and the sights of fireflies and other interesting animals captured our minds. As time passed, our responsibilities and adulthood pursuits left less time for nature immersion. The recognition and instant recall of nature’s benefits would be obscured by our own efforts to advance in a technologically driven world. Our individual stressors, personal anxieties, and the overwhelming demands of contemporary life would ultimately bring us back to the medicinal aspects of nature, to our current investigation of the scientific validity of those childhood memories.

I have been reminded of how much I need to be outside, to touch nature, to appreciate and have gratitude for time spent in our beautiful world. When we return to Washington, my renewed love of the outdoors will help me to be purposeful everyday. There are many opportunities there as well but it is just not calling your name everyday like it is when the mountains are right there and the sun is shining brightly. Going outside and Being in nature is a very important part of who I am and so I will figure it out no matter where I live. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be reminded of this love.

Nature is a very important part of all of us – literally part of our DNA. How do you satisfy your craving to be outside – no matter where you live?

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One thought on “The Touch of Nature

  1. Time spent in nature is, in my opinion, one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and our loved ones. Have you read Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv? My daughter was fortunate enough to attend a private preschool with a curriculum fully grounded in nature and farming. Each day, the kids spent the vast majority of their time outdoors. There was a working farm on the premises, a wind turbine, solar panels, and a huge garden. They walked in the woods nearby and played in the sunshine each day. Having to watch her then transition to public school (still wonderful in our small town) was painful. Only 30 minutes outside each day? Are you kidding me? I do my best to supplement that time with long walks and bike rides and visits to the beach. Sometimes, we just enjoy Mother Nature from our own, tiny backyard which has a beautiful Copper Beech and a full complement of burb creatures – squirrels, birds, chipmunks, racoons, skunks, hawks, rabbits, and even a few foxes. And our vacations are usually spent in the great outdoors – hiking, kayaking, or just walking. It’s SO important. Nature is a great teacher and time spent in the wild has a deep and lasting impact on a person’s heart, soul, and mind.

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