Our brains and our bodies are in a state of constant overdrive. When that happens, nature has a way of forcing us to slow down, chill out, and start noticing things again.
Like the nuances in our day to day that we take for granted. Say, the nice barista who knows exactly how you take your morning rocket fuel the moment you enter a tried-and-true cafe. Or the park you pass by on your way to work, which is looking particularly breathtaking this time of year. Even that text your best friend sent you quoting the “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” episode you watched together the previous night that left you both pissing your pants. These simple things are noteworthy.
They also help clear our minds. I went for a nature walk the other day. Sure, I should have been writing, cooking, cleaning, and a host of other things, but there was an internal restlessness keeping me from tending to any of these obligations. So I needed to get out. I drove to Horn Pond in Woburn, a two-mile stretch of Walden-esque wonderment boasting several even-woods-ier side trails. It was breezy and the air finally felt like fall after a long stretch of awkward, muggy days. I stepped onto the path and instantly felt better. Trading my bedroom walls for a carpet of leaves and the view outside my window for curtains of towering trees presented an instantaneous shift in mood and well-being. My blinders were off, so much so that I noticed some of my favorite birds, be it that crow with a wingspan so huge that I swear it must have been a turkey vulture (it may have been a raven), seven swans, a woodpecker, and a blue jay. While exploring a side trail, I saw a grey heron and stopped to observe it in solace. While standing in silence, I heard someone approaching and looked up to see a man walking briskly. He looked so content, like there was nothing he’d rather be doing at that moment. As he passed me, he saw what I was looking at, smiled and said, “patience.”
Patience. Stillness. Replacing the static din modern day life muddles our thoughts with via the calming resonance of nature. You have to remember to look around, or risk missing stuff like a soul-melting sunset that, for five brief minutes during a punishing commute home, can set our stresses free. It’s important to become quiet enough to feel the natural rhythm of our bodies, and listen to what they’re telling us, and then responding in kind (remember, our bodies change with the seasons, too).
Our internal clocks are getting ready to wind back and enjoy one more hour of sleep, so rather than fighting it, maybe we should try rolling with it and befriending the longer nights to purposefully reflect on the good, simple happenings of the day.