Finding My Happy Place in Nature


Like many, I find nature revitalizing. Whenever faced with a difficult task—medical procedures, traffic jams, childbirth—I go to my happy place, a beach in Florida where in my mind I can feel the breeze in my face, sense the sun on my skin and taste of salt spray on my lips. I love it. Yep, I’m there now.

Our Maiden Voyage

During our maiden voyage in “Steve RV”, our travel trailer to Fort Richardson State Park in Jacksboro, Texas, I was reminded of just how much nature nourishes me. I loved running down trails with my family, climbing boulders just to get a bird’s eye view and marveling at the intricacies of a spider web. We roasted marshmallows by the fire at night and awoke to the sunlight streaming through the windows in the morning. I even challenged myself to do yoga stretches out in the open rather than cloistered away in the trailer. I loved the experience.

When we returned home after our short three-day maiden voyage, I awoke the next morning missing the outdoors. Like most, I have lived my life inside. Other than an occasional morning walk or hike, I spend whole days inside with the only breeze coming out of my A/C vents.

A Heart-shaped Rock Found along the Trail

The Healing of Nature

The week after that voyage, a TV news story highlighted studies that proved nature to be healing. It even mentioned machines that bring the sounds of nature indoors. And while part of me scoffs at such a First World solution to a manmade problem, I have to admit that I’m right there. Two years ago, I bought my husband ([amazon link=”B004NBJM5G” title=”a clock that simulates the sunrise” link_title=”Philips Wake-up Light” /] by gradually increasing the light in a room and awakes us with the sweet sounds of bird calls. I’m sure I could get the same effect by opening my blinds before turning in at night and leaving a window open, but that would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it?

In her article, “Green is Good for You” (American Psychological, April 2001), Rebecca A. Clay explored the effects of nature. In fact, studies have found that nature—from looking at it to walking through it—can increase a sense of wellbeing and improve productivity and mood. Psychologists even work with designers to bring a sense of nature indoors. I’m finding this to be very true.

A Moth Camouflaged in the Leaves
A Moth Camouflaged in the Leaves

To the Future

I look forward to giving nature a more prominent place in my life. I look forward to waking with the sunrise, walking under the canopies of the trees and watching my kids explore river beds. I look forward to slowing down long enough to notice tiny things like fireflies (something my kids saw for the first time), new species of birds we have yet to identify (my 8-year-old and I followed a roadrunner), and moths that blend into their backgrounds. Quite simply, I look forward to getting acquainted with nature. I’m sure it’s going to blow my mind.

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