The Under-appreciation of Nature

photos-activities-nature-walksI've recently returned to a childlike frame of mind in regards to nature. I sometimes feel so inexplicably overwhelmed by the pure beauty of God's creation that I feel like approaching strangers and marveling, “Dude, can you believe that wind is actually, you know, a thing? Like, you can feel it, but can't see it?” To which my hapless victim would give me an uneasy smile and maybe offer a gracious, “uh, that's nice...” before clearing out pronto. Ways to become more appreciative and aware of the wonders of nature:

Stargaze. Seriously. Go look at the stars tonight. Tilt your head back, wait for your eyes to adjust, and drink it in. Offer up your problems to the celestial bodies and contemplate on how vastly unconcerned they are. Your earthly, world-shattering, human-to-human troubles? It's fascinating and almost relieving how minuscule your little soul and it's heartache is in the grand scheme of the universe. Perspective is everything, and you can gain a lot by simply watching the stars and reveling in the goodness of a God who places those stars in the sky each night.

Take a walk in the neighborhood, backyard, or park. Never underestimate the power of a walk outside to calm your worrying and boost your mood. Hikes, too!

Observe wildlife. When I say wildlife, I include the random butterfly landing on a bush in your backyard. The lazy worm squirming on the sidewalk. Open yourself up to the reality that the Earth is teeming with life, both animal and human. And yes, I think there is a distinction.

Visit the ocean. I cannot stress this enough. Living close to the sea is something I took for granted the majority of my life. Don't wait until I did. Much like stargazing, being in the vicinity of the ocean is soothing and eye-opening. You can lose yourself in the glorious ambiguity of the vastness of the water. There's nothing quite like a trip to the beach and a dousing in the ocean to clear the mind and cleanse the body. Trust me.

Anne Frank, in her infamous diary, said, "The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature, and God...As long as this exists, and it certainly will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles. Oh, who knows, perhaps it won't be long before I can share this overwhelming feeling of bliss with someone who feels the way I do about it."

I couldn't have said it better myself. Nature is extremely underappreciated and sometimes simply observing various aspects of the world is an excellent way to commune with God and gain added perspective on life.