Summer brings with it the opportunity for travel and exploration. Social media is full of pictures of families at the beach, lakes, national parks, historic landmarks, and enjoying beautiful vistas here and abroad.
Nature is a gift. Our Creator could have chosen a bleak, bland landscape for our existence. Instead, he gave us amazing colors, varied seasons, and natural wonders.
Following are some of the benefits of time spent in nature:
Disconnect and Reconnect
My husband and I spent several days at the beach recently. We made it a priority to disconnect from our phones, the news, and social media. We read, talked, walked, looked at the ocean, and watched the sun rise and set. We disconnected from distractions and reconnected with each other as we spent time outside listening, looking, and relaxing. Time spent in nature helps us disconnect from the bustle and banter of the world and reconnect with God and each other.
One of the best parts of time spent at the coast is the sound of the ocean. Whether a gentle lapping or a thunderous crashing, the hypnotic sound of water soothes stress and washes away burdens. Other elements of nature have the same effect. A vibrant landscape, a waterfall, a breeze on a hot day, a chorus of birdsong, all ease tensions and move us to a level of simplistic enjoyment.
As a child, I can remember my mother and grandmother promoting the healing power of salt water. A few days of ocean swimming was guaranteed to heal any minor scrape or cut. But nature has the power to heal other types of wounds. Emotional wounds, grief, and heartaches are eased with the observation of sunrise or sunset, walking in the green coolness of forests or meadows. or while viewing a vast expanse of creation. In nature, minds clear and circumstances that seem insurmountable are dwarfed as solutions unfold and present a way forward.
Even a small amount of time in nature provides a lift. A dose of nature may be as simple as lunch in a courtyard or a walk to the end of the street and back. Resist the urge to check your phone or listen to music or a podcast. Instead, look and listen to the sounds of nature—a hawk soaring overhead, cicadas strumming a cacophony of sound, wind in the trees, the sounds of water in a fountain or sprinkler system, or the rhythm or your feet on pavement. Drink in the sights and sounds and feel your spirit revive.
Over the years, some of my best writing ideas have been inspired by nature. The intricacies of flora and fauna, the varied music of birdsong answered and repeated, the majesty of sweeping vistas, all combine to inspire. Experiencing creation firsthand fuels creativity. Various elements of nature speak to our souls, teach us, and propel forward motion.
Each morning while we were at the beach, I got up to watch the sunrise. I had to consciously tune out distractions—the clank of the pool vacuum, beach patrol trucks picking up debris and tractors smoothing sand, a bug on the balcony wall—but I focused on the horizon, listened to the sound of incoming tide, and waited. Others did the same. No talking, texting, or moving. Just peaceful contemplation.
The colors, cloud formations, and appearance of sunrise were different each day. Spreading light illuminated clouds from beneath and painted swathes of color near and far. Even the cloudy days were spectacular. I took pictures and later played with various filters, but no enhancement improved the actual panorama and the original photos were the best.
Above all, as I experienced God’s glory, peace flooded my soul. Now, more than ever, in a world filled with angry voices and violence, we need moments of stillness and peace. Take time today to enjoy creation and praise the Creator.
“Ever since God created the world, his invisible qualities, both his eternal power and his divine nature, have been clearly seen; they are perceived in the things that God has made.” Romans 1:20 GNT