When I think of time spent outdoors, the words that come to mind involve peace and solitude. As I have aged, I have come to recognize the outdoors as a place to seek spirituality and a connection to my own self.
The human spirit and heart need places that have not been altered by human progress. We need places where the only expectation is that we breathe.
Go to the forest. Walk until you can hear no more car engines or people talking. Plant your feet upon the ground and stand tall and with confidence like a rooted tree.
Close your eyes and breathe in and out slowly. Feel your blood pressure lower. Now open your eyes and lift your face toward the heavens. Watch as the wind rustles through the leaves above. Listen for the mighty bullfrog, the delicate cricket and the rhythmic woodpecker in the distance.
Listen. Look. Breathe. Repeat.
Study your surroundings and the way the light hits a hillside, transforming one patch of vegetation into something lovely, bright and vibrant in contrast to the other side of the hill which remains dark and mysterious.
Look down and notice the pebbles and dirt beneath your feet. Study the stray leaves and bird feathers along your path.
Do this enough and you will understand that you are traveling a path that is designed just for you. Not the one the world tries to tell you is right or that you imagined for yourself.
Your path, your peace, your soul.
People need natural spaces. People need the quiet of the forest. People need the bubbling rhythm of a stream to wash away their worries. People need clean air to cleanse their minds.
You need these things.
Trust me when I say that the stress, grief or other difficulties you face won’t magically go away just because you stand in the woods. However, your ability to cope and to face the challenges of your life will be infinitely improved when you spend time in nature.
Some people go into the woods to get lost. Personally, I go to find myself. I feel more like me when I spend time with nature.
It’s like a good workout, therapy and church service rolled into one. Don’t believe me? Go to the woods and find out for yourself.