For the Love of Nature


If someone asked me the question, "What is one single thing that you absolutely cannot live without in life?" It wouldn't take me long to answer. Actually, the easy answer is "God." But I think I would break that down a little more and say, "God, in the form where I can see Him every day."

So what does that mean? I can tell you're scratching your head a little at that one. God is everywhere -- I know that. But people see Him in different ways. Some people see God when they're around babies. I have a friend (hi, Robin!) who I know feels that way about sweet-smelling, cooing little infants. That moment when my friend is holding one of those precious babies, she feels God overflowing in her heart. I have another friend who feels that way about her kids. She lives for her children, and adores them completely. Yet another friend feels that way about her family. To her, family is everything, and her family is the epitome of God's love and presence and majesty. For some people that "thing" might be food... or animals... or building houses... or running... or whatever. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that everyone has that "thing" which deep in the pit of their stomach and in the fiber of their being defines the very truest form of the word "contentment." Even those who claim not to be religious or faithful still have that "thing." Regardless of what that is: music, sports, painting, reading, gardening, etc. -- EVERYBODY has their "thing." It's that sense of peace that sits still in your body and gives you a little voice in the back of your head, telling you that all is right with the world and that you are in your element. It's what puts a grin on your face and takes away the stress of life. It's the feeling that every nerve has come alive and that you know you were meant to be with that "thing" or doing that "thing." Does that all make sense?

So now I just have to state for the official record that my "thing" is nature. It drives me insane that I live in the middle of a city with cement all around me, because I am a country girl at heart. I love fresh air. I belong with the trees. I really enjoy hearing birds sing and chirp. I'll never forget the one time I was chatting with an old acquaintance of mine, and that person said, "I HATE birds! Why do they have to be so noisy and loud?" My jaw fell to the ground. I could have birds -- especially song birds -- around me all day, every day and never get tired of them. I adore the call of seagulls, and get such a kick out of watching them. But it's not just birds. I love squirrels and chipmunks, as well. I could do without the snakes and spiders, but in the grand scheme of things, I suppose they're okay, too.

Have you ever seen the Milky Way at night? I bet most of you haven't. How about a meteor shower? Have you ever sat perfectly still in the woods and listened to the tall trees creaking and the leaves rustling in the wind? I have. I've seen and heard and felt all of those things. I could sit with the warm spring sun on my face for hours, and not ever care that I hadn't seen or heard a soul. I've got memories of water lapping against a sandy shoreline, with seagulls singing their call as I lightly dozed. I remember lazily swinging on a hammock under a big old apple tree in the summertime, eating ripe cherries and listening to the cheery birds whistle and sing to each other. I recall standing in a cornfield, smelling the sweet, sun-drenched smell of the stalks and watched as they swayed in the breeze. I stood next to a powerful waterfall, and squinted as the bright sunlight danced off of the water splashing on the rocks. I once read a book while lying on a wooden boat dock, with not one soul in sight. And every so often I'd glance up to catch sparkly purple and green dragonflies skim the water of the river to eat tiny unsuspecting bugs. Dozens of times I've walked in fields overflowing with wildflowers, plucking daisies and sweat peas from their resting spots. I've smelled the smoky scent of campfire settling in on the damp air as dusk drowned out the last bits of daylight. I caught skittish deer staring at me only a few feet from the road from where I stopped stealthily in my tracks. I've stood out under the bright moonlight on a winter's night and marveled at the glittery white snow in the still, quiet air of the north woods. And I have captured on film the dozens and dozens of crimson and blazing orange trees as they proudly showed off their autumn glory against a crisp blue October sky.

All of those things resonate in me in way that is deeper and much more ancient than my own body and mind. For those people who don't believe in God, I just don't know how you do it. I don't know how you can deny the splendor and significance of those moments. Either that, or you haven't really ever experienced the true peace, love and majestic perfection in those ways that I have -- and if that's the case, then I'm truly sorry. Because if you did, you'd know without a shadow of a doubt that it comes from some place other than mere science or society. I know it. I definitely know it. I know it because I've experienced it time and time again. For me, my "thing" is the green and blue and living world around me that resides outside of the concrete streets and busy freeways. It's nature in its truest, basic form... untouched by human hands and wild in its beautiful and amazing grandeur.

I love God with all of my heart and soul -- it's just who I am. Yet the best times in my life are when I actually SEE Him. Or when I can FEEL Him. And He is all around me when I am standing in the middle of all His glorious creation. I am ever so blessed to have those memories. Sure my circumstances aren't ideal right now to be enjoying nature, but I do try to find it whenever and wherever I can. I go for walks in the park. I put bird feeders out on my balcony to draw the birds to my window. I go outside when I can, and find quiet, sunny places when I can. It refreshes me, revives me and energizes me. If you only know one thing about me, know that nature is my "thing."

And that, my dear friends, is why I created this new blog.

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature."
~Anne Frank

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