Earth Day Musings

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With Earth Day coming up on April 22, I’ve been thinking about being more connected with nature. It can be a powerful thing to unplug and lose yourself for a little while in nature.

Even though I basically live in a forest (east coast, baby) if I’m not careful, my only interaction with outside is seeing it through the windows and on the short walk to my car or the mailbox.

Now that it’s warming up I can more easily go for walks, and I’m lucky to have a little one who loves going outside. I get to see the world new again through her curious eyes. She listens intently to bird songs, stops to inspect the moss growing in the sidewalk cracks, and is content to pull wood chips off the berm and put them back again for 20 minutes.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

When I was growing up, I used to go outside just to be there. I made little bundles of grass by using one blade to tie a bunch together, found tidy corners at the base of trees for tiny houses, looked for shapes in the clouds as they crossed the sky, and watched as the the trees grew through the seasons.

One year, my mom gave each child a tiny bit of garden for our own. It was fun to watch the tiny plants poke up from the soil and then grow large. Watering was my favorite because I liked to make little streams to each row and then hurry and build dams out of stones to stop the leaks. I definitely weeded a lot more often that year!

It’s harder as an adult, but I try to keep that curiosity even now. A lot of that comes when I find time without my phone. Somehow having the answer to every question in my back pocket doesn’t encourage much curiosity...

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

To really experience the wilderness, our family likes to take yearly hiking trips; we’ve been to the Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Zion’s National Park, and are planning a weekend in Yosemite this year. For me, the mountains especially are a reminder that there are things much bigger than me. If you’re not a religious person you can take this for what it is, but I connect to God more powerfully in middle of the wilderness. I feel closer to the being who made all this beauty and am reminded who I am. It’s a humbling and cleansing experience to try my will against the mountains.

However you do it, try to take a moment out of the hustle and bustle and be still outside for a little while this weekend. I think you’ll come out of it refreshed and more at peace.

How do you slow down, unplug, and pause a moment?