I love the outdoors. It’s in my blood, this love for nature. It comes from my father, and my maternal grandmother. The ability to simply look around me and be filled with wonder. Right now, I sit outside on my porch, at my brand new garden table, a scented candle burning, a 72 degree Autumn breeze blowing, listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
There was a full moon out last night, and I awoke in the middle of the night, as the full moon was passing over my bedroom window, casting its new wondrous invigorating light into my body and soul.
We are in the midst of a wonderful time of year. The air is fresh, the breeze cool with the message that Winter is on his way. Where I live, the climate is mountain/desert, which means it is arid and hot in the Summers and even warm under the Winter sun during the day, but there is often a breeze to stir and freshen the air. As the sun disappears, cool cleansing air breezes in on strong winds to cool off the stone houses and red tile roofs. But most importantly, to cleanse the soul.
I am not sure, since I have always been this way, what it is like for others. I’d like to believe that everyone has the ability to hear and absorb the majesty of nature. That for some, the sense of nature is something they are always aware of, while for others, the ability to hear nature has just not been practiced and honed. But that they can see and feel, if they open up that sense.
Someone commented on a post I wrote the other day on FB (about a beautiful sky I witnessed painting the world around me in bold colors) how amazing it is that in the midst of chaotic life, I can find the beauty in my surroundings. My response: it is the beauty in my surroundings that keeps me grounded. The breeze cleans my soul. The mountains to my North and West teach me majesty. Their shades of deep brown purple ground me like a solid tree rooted to the earth. The deep abyss of valley between my backyard and the mountains behind me echo the depths of my being. The blue pinkish purples of the Jordan mountain range in the distance in the East fill my heart with whimsy. The still clear waters of the Dead Sea to the South-East show me clarity and stability. And timelessness. And the desert – the sandy shadowed shades of brown hold the lessons of eternity. And its sun – the radiating heat of this desert-mountain sun lights my heart and soul to greet each day clean and new. With light and hope and knowledge of happy laughing times. Fresh.
This is how nature speaks to me. All together, it calms my chaos, teaches me the patience of eternal time, sends me love and nurturing, clears out the cobwebs in my being, and refreshes me whenever I breath in the air.
I believe nature can do this for you, too.
As a young mother, when all the laundry, dishes, unmade beds, upside down playroom, and messed up couches would call me to clean up and organize, stealing me from precious time with my quickly growing children, I would head outdoors with them. When I am at the park, I no longer hear all the responsibilities calling me. The dishes quiet down, the laundry settles in for a few more hours of sitting. I, instead, hear the laughter of my children, watch the healthy glow of color on their skin as they get exercise in the fresh crisp air. I watch their little legs pump, their arms straining as they climb the bars. And the “weeeee!”s as they feel exhilaration out in this playground of wonder fashioned and painted by G-d.
And I sit with the glorious mountains painted in browns as the backdrop to my life. And the blue dark azure sky as the ceiling to my world.
This is what it is like for me.
I invite you outdoors. Look around you. Children try to ground us and teach us the lessons of G-d’s wonder, but we are too often in too much of a rush to notice. They point out the pretty chirping bird, the bright new red rose bud, and we are busy rushing, saying “how nice” without a glance. Or, we don’t respond at all. Or, we say “I don’t have time for this! Mommy’s in a big rush!!”. Please, stop and smell the roses with them. Teach them to see the wonder. Allow G-d’s beautiful world to be a never-ending source of wonder for them. It is a tool they can use for life when all is chaos around them. Give them the gift of tranquility that comes with nature awareness.
In the meantime, you will learn that taking time to smell the roses really does change our perspective on life. It helps prioritize life’s priorities. It helps you stop and notice time now, as opposed to stopping when you are 50 and saying, “Where did that time go?”. Let your children teach you this lesson. Now. You will forever be blessed for it. By learning in the process how nature can still your waters and keep you calm.
We are in the middle of a season that invites us outdoors. Come outside. Join me at my table. Find the calm inside you when you hear the birds chirp and feel the breeze blow through you. Love nature and all its wonders, and wonderful will be your world.