Most of us know that our ancestors worked physically much harder than most of us do today.
I also have observed that our ancestors knew how to take Sabbath rest, to simply be.
This ability to rest and just observe life and the outdoors is evident in literature and poetry from past eras, rich in descriptions of nature. One such example is the poem The Voice of Spring by Mary Howitt.
I am coming, I am coming!
Hark! the honey bee is humming;
See, the lark is soaring high
In the blue and sunny sky,
And the gnats are on the wing
Wheeling round in airy ring.
Listen! New-born lambs are bleating,
And the cawing rooks are meeting
In the elms–a noisy crowd.
All the birds are singing loud,
And the first white butterfly
In the sunshine dances by.
Look around you, look around!
Flowers in all the fields abound,
Every running stream is bright,
All the orchard trees are white,
And each small and waving shoot
Promises sweet autumn fruit.
Do you notice the “airy ring” of gnats? Birdsong? Each “small and waving shoot?”
My guess is that many of us don’t. In our mad dash from house to car to gym to work and back again to sit in front of the TV and surf the web, we rarely stop long enough to observe and absorb the natural world around us.
I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer who implies that it’s wrong to have full days or to spend time watching TV or being online. Those activities have value. They’re part of the culture in which we live and we’d be foolish to eschew them entirely.
But I don’t want us to let those activities edge out our ability to simply be, to practice the quiet, therapeutic observation of nature.
I’ve written before about how nature has been my therapy. In a very real way, time in nature “saved” me. Not in any spiritual sense—Jesus did that–but in a physical, mental, and emotional one—God’s creation contributed to my survival and wholeness.
It’s not something I have always appreciated, but I surely do now. And with my own experience, I’ve developed a passion for encouraging others to learn to simply be in nature, to learn to enjoy the outdoors and let it do its work.
Do you agree or disagree with the idea that people today are more out of touch with nature than past generations? Do you think this is a positive or a negative, and how? Talk to me! I want your feedback!
I’d like to invite you to like me on Facebook , or follow me on Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram.
I’ll be excited to see you there!
Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
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