Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” Not only do I agree that the preservation of the world can be found in the unfettered embrace and reality of nature, but the preservation of the soul, of our very being can be found there as well. After all, that is where we all come from and return to.
And so it is that in these days of reflection I have decided to again immerse myself in nature. Nature’s intentions are pure; they know no bigotry. The sun’s warmth and the bite of winter cold is there for all of us. There are also extraordinary moments to be experienced. Thoreau told of one when he wrote, “I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.” I too had one recently when I turned and saw a doe standing eight feet from me, looking right at me. There the two of us were, side by side, and for some reason that I will never understand but always treasure, she did not run. She simply gave me the once over, rightfully determined that I was not a threat to her, and proceed ed to feed on the nearby foliage. I named her Gretchen. She even let me take pictures of her.
There is something else that comes with time in nature: spiritual freedom. When I walk in the woods a moment comes when the woods and I are one and the same. My being is as related to the trunk of a tree or the stem of a flower as they are to the branches, leaves and flower petals. We are all joined in the web of sunlight and shadow, or the mystical embrace of a morning mist. A luscious tranquility fills the lungs, the heart, the soul. The healing nectar of peace runs through the veins and the trials of daily life take their rightful place in the storeroom for the trivial. There are many things to be seen in nature and – if you pay attention – they will make your heart smile.
Buddha was right when he said much of human suffering comes from our attachment to material things: possessions, money and so forth. When you allow the all of you to walk full length in nature, the nexus of life, it’s spiritual center, nature itself, will take you in her arms: a wondrous, healing embrace deserved by all.