Nature Is a Balm

Too often writers, like theologians--and I belong to both professions--can get restless and dry. We try to wet our whistles by reading others' work, but even that can make you feel more twitchy, and it can be like you were dropped into the Sahara on the hottest day of the year. Water! Water! Give me a drink, please!

During those times it's best to turn off the computer, walk away, and find a quiet place to sit under a tree, or take a short hike up a trail you've been longing to trek. Rivers and lakes qualify, as do the stretches of sand meeting the sea where you can curl your toes into the grainy substance, roll the legs up on your trousers, and feel the water wash over your feet. Your cup really does run over when you fill it with the unadorned great outdoors. Nature is the balm for renewal, cleansing, and peace. There is nothing like it when you breathe in the velvet air by the ocean, drink in the smell of the fecund earth and trees of a forest, or while gazing at the calm of a lake or fingerling river.

We are made out of and for this blue orb circling through space. These are the places where we can connect with our substance, our nature, and learn how to truly listen. Take five or ten minutes, if that is all you can afford, and touch the leaves of a tree or a flower, and feel the miracle that is life. Once you've been renewed by the most basic part of ourselves, then embrace your child, or spouse, or parent. Renew that relationship. Don't forget to laugh. Laugh often and hard. Then, return to your keyboard and see if you don't feel invigorated and filled with ideas. See if you don't feel like praying, or reading.

We all need to feel that tenuous thread of nature running through our veins to anchor us to reality, to our destiny. Without it we become concrete, fixed in our ways, stultified to the point we are intractable in our opinions and philosophies. Remember, a rock cannot grow, and we are meant to grow until we leave this life for the next.


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