Connect with Nature

Over the weekend I read an email from my friend Noah Maze, and he closed the email with this quote from John Muir:

“The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.”

Those words made me run outside and roll in the grass (after checking for puppy poops). They reminded me that our connection with nature is our first level of experience and that connection is built into the human psyche. It’s why we feel so shifted after a day at the beach, or a walk in the woods, or tending to our suburban container gardens. Time spent in nature connects us to each other and to the larger world. A study at my alma mater the University of Illinois suggests that residents in Chicago public housing who had trees and green space around their building reported knowing more people, having stronger feelings of unity with neighbors, being more concerned with helping and supporting each other, and having stronger feelings of belonging than tenants in buildings without trees!

We continue to need to find ways to bolster our spirits and stay connected to ourselves, to each other, and to the environment.  We have the perfect salve for our souls right outside our doorway. I hope you can get out this week to be immersed and restored.

© Julie Smerdon 2021

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