Almost a year ago I started a new ritual of escaping to the woods whenever I was feeling out of sorts, overloaded, or too hyper-focused on intellectual pursuits. When I made my first venture out to a local arboretum last May and posted about it on my other blog, I made the wonderful discovery that my brain had a rest, my mind slowed down and I didn’t need to entertain its demand for input or analysis.
I used to escape to the woods as a teenager to get away from problems at home. It was a sanctuary from my troubles. Until last year, I had no idea it still functions as a sanctuary and restores a lot of my depleted energy.
My dear friend had a rather eloquent response:
Your comments about rest for your brain and that your “mind slowed down and [you] DIDN’T need to entertain its demand for input or analysis” brought back to my mind thoughts of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau was harangued by his contemporaries and peers. Voltaire was incensed by Rousseau’s expressions, declaring that Rousseau wanted us to go back to walking on all fours. Hume, later in Rousseau’s life, said that Rousseau had become “…plainly mad, after having long been maddish.” There are many more examples…
Dear Jean-Jacques seems to have always had trouble moving in “social circles.” He would likely have been medicated and/or institutionalized had he walked among us in our day and age. His mood swings, ‘paranoia’, affective, and social un-eases begged for some medical ‘assistance’. Yet, according to the man himself, he found solace in his communing with Nature. There were times in his life when the only peace he found was lying on his back, floating in a small boat, in the middle of a lake…listening, looking, smelling, touching, feeling the unconfused, irrefutable, immutable consistency of Nature.
Amen to Nature! (And God Bless friends who tolerate mood swings!)
Come walk a while with me at a local nature preserve.
The beginning of our path was lined with Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica). Apparently an ‘ephemeral plant’, the bluebells have a quickly fading life cycle – about 6-8 weeks.
I have no idea how this gravity-defying, crooked tree trunk stays up, or why it’s crooked in the first place. It reminds me of me, a little quirky and defiant.
Entering one section of the wetlands.
That’s not a field of grass, but a marsh of reeds…and with my cutie pie looking on.
Virginia bluebells up close. They are pink when ’empty’…
…and blue when filled with nectar.
It’s very, very wet in the wetlands.
My husband said this shot almost looks like a painting. Almost.
Thanks to the keen eye of a fellow flower aficionado, I’m pretty sure this is a Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica).
Each blossom is approximately the size of a penny.
The entire walk took about 1.5 hours, but it felt much longer…it was so peaceful…and the birds were chirping, trilling, and singing their sweet birdsongs. We saw grackles, American goldfinches, a cardinal, a tiny little ruby-throated hummingbird, and a rose-breasted grosbeak.
It’s not just that going out in Nature is peaceful (even though it is) or that it’s pretty (even though it is), it’s an amazing prescription for modern dis-ease.