A Different Kind of Nature Girl

I was never a Girl Scout, not even a Brownie, and I’ve never camped outside in a sleeping bag. Being allergic to a variety of four-legged creatures, I’m not exactly what you’d call an animal person. During a class trip to Old MacDonald’s Farm in first grade, I could be seen running through the barn at lightning speed with a sweatshirt jacket covering my nose, while all the other kids gathered to see the baby pigs being born. And yet… I love to be outdoors and to be with nature.

Some encounters with nature are so remarkable that they leave an imprint in your memory and in your very cells. It’s been over 14 years since I viewed the glorious waterfalls in Yosemite with my friend Beatrice, yet it only takes me an instant to close my eyes and vividly remember hearing the sound of rushing water and feeling the mist on my face and arms, even before the falls were in view.

Though seven years ago, I can readily transport myself to a 90-minute horseback ride on a mountain ridge in Yellowstone that Jess and I had the chance to take with a classic cowboy guide whose name was Ward. My horse Mickey knew the terrain and, nature girl or not, I was able to trust Mickey and enjoy the view.

Even less dramatic encounters with nature on everyday walks through your neighborhood can make lasting impressions and impact your well-being. Perhaps there is a communing-with-nature storehouse that we need to keep filling up within ourselves.

Immersed In Beauty

Earlier this summer on a trip to the Grand Canyon, my stepsons Jake and Jordan, and Jake’s girlfriend, Cristal, encouraged us to hike down the canyon a little bit, instead of just staying on the rim. While Jess and I were careful to know our limits and turned around to go back before they did, it was well worth our effort to venture into the canyon, even if just for a mile or so.

Being enveloped by the canyon with stunning views on every side was truly awesome. When you are completely immersed in beauty it is impossible to have a stressful thought. Well, almost, that is… there was that sign at the visitors center that warned: Not many people fall into the canyon but those who do tend to die. Grand Canyon humor, I guess. And having to pass the generous amounts of mule poop on the path was also nature’s humor, as it caused me to reprise my sweatshirt-over-the-nose routine from first grade. Nevertheless, the Grand Canyon was awesome and its grandeur resulted in that wonderful state of just being.

What’s Your Idea of Awesome?

Spending time in nature awakens your senses, brings renewal, and connects you with the current of life. How do you most enjoy being in nature?

This Week’s Call to Action:

  • Plan a trip to one of the world’s national parks.
  • Take a day trip this weekend to a nearby natural wonder.
  • Notice beauty in your immediate surroundings whether in your own back yard or neighborhood.
  • Make it a point to spend more time outdoors. Take a walk. Dine al fresco. Watch a sunset.
  • And this is one you can do on even the busiest of days: Step outside and look up at the sky for a few moments. It will immediately change your perspective.

“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.”
— Albert Einstein

Here's to you,
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