Nature. It has always calmed me. Helped me to center myself. Put a smile on my face. Brought happiness to my heart. Nature transports me to a different world. I have always said that I feel closest to God when I am surrounded by it. I grew up in the country; Amish country to be exact. Fireflies in July, beautiful fall foliage in October, and snowy, rolling fields in February are what I remember of my 18 years in Ohio. I can still feel the summer grass beneath my bare feet in our backyard as my siblings and I ran around playing softball.
As a kid, every summer I went to camp. Church and Girl Scout camp to be exact. Then, for three summers in college I worked as a counselor and as a part of the leadership team. Singing silly songs, pitching tents, starting one-match campfires, and showering minimally are a part of who I am in nature, and I love it! Whether it be the mystery of the swampy marsh, the wonder of the vast starry night sky, the crunch of twigs beneath my feet on the hiking trail, the smell of campfire on my clothes, or the sounds of a thunderstorm late at night, I feel surrounded by power and beauty in nature.
This is a photo I took two days ago in Francis Marion National Forest near Charleston, SC. I walked this trail with my parents, middle sister and brother-in-law. I no longer take for granted the fact that I’m able to walk on my own for extended periods of time. No boot on my right leg to heal my tibial stress fracture. No compression socks to give my legs extra support. It is still a slower walk, with some pain at times, but I am grateful for the progress I’ve made since January and like to refer to walks like these as pure walking bliss!
Being in nature, walking, not only reminds me of how thankful I am for healthy legs, but it also helps me clear my head. And lately, my head has been reeling and contemplative while my heart has been heavy and paralyzed over the end of a tumultous relationship. Here’s to you nature for giving me space to live out the mystery beyond the bend and allowing me to feel the rays of warm sunlight on my skin. May we meet again, and soon, as I have a lot of thinking to do and joy to experience in your immenseness.