Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. –Henry David Thoreau
Let me be the first to say that I have not read Thoreau. (Hey, I was a French major!) Nor am I completely at ease being alone in nature.
But Thoreau took two years out of his life living in this itty bitty cabin to write his seminal work, Walden, reflecting on simple living in natural surroundings.
I mean, check this out. He built this cottage with his own two hands.
While I am not advocating building your own tiny house on a pond, I love the idea of reconnecting with nature. Even as single women, we need to recharge our batteries, take some time for personal reflection, and remember what a beautiful place this planet really is.
The following are all things I have done to get in tune with nature. They can be done in as little as fifteen minutes, and don’t require you to be a deep transcendentalist or overly spiritual person to do.
- Take a walk or bike ride without your phone. While I don’t advocate walking in the dark without a means of calling in an emergency, take a walk or bike ride without listening to music or podcasts. Focus on the sounds, smells, and sights of your walk. Are there trees, flowers, or bird sounds you have never noticed before? It doesn’t even have to be a long walk. Fifteen or twenty minutes is plenty of time to observe and reflect.
- Find a park and sit down with your journal. Just like walking without your headphones, take five minutes to write down what you notice at the park. Dandelion seeds drifting past you. Kids playing on the playground. Squirrels chasing each other. Shapes you see in the clouds. Just write down everything you see, hear, smell, and feel. It doesn’t have to make any sense at all. Just allow yourself to be present in the moment.
- Watch a sunrise or sunset. I saw my first entire sunset after spending the night in a Pawnee earth lodge. We got up before dawn and listening to the pulsing drum and Pawnee chant, we watched the sun slowly make its way over the eastern horizon. My heart pounded in time with the drum, and the actual sunrise tool my breath away. And though I had to wipe the sleep away from my eyes, the colors were more vivid than I ever could have dreamed.
- Go to a park, public garden, nature preserve, or similar place to take pictures or record the sounds. This is fun to do. I love taking pictures of bright flowers, plants I’ve never seen before, or prairie vistas. I also enjoy recording birdcalls, especially the western meadowlark. I then throw these up on Facebook or Instagram to document the trip. It helps me see the word through new eyes, reminds me that there is more to life than staring at a computer screen, and makes me grateful I live in such a beautiful part of the country.
You don’t have to be a granola girl or a philosopher like Thoreau to take some time to reconnect with nature. Take one of these four simple steps and create your own memories. Love where you are, love where you live, and remember that there is such peace and joy to be found in nature.
What is the best way for you to connect with nature? Comment below!
(Photo credit: Creative Commons – Namlhots)