This past month, I visited the Grand Canyon for the first time in my life. What an amazing creation of Nature! It was a place so magical, so hauntingly beautiful and incredibly awesome that I could have stayed for weeks or months and still not have begun to truly take it all in. With every passing moment as the light in the canyon shifted, the colors and textures changed before your eyes. All I wanted to do was sit and gaze at the stunning vistas, or walk along the rim and watch as each turn revealed new wonders. I felt so tiny against the towering cliffs of the canyon, yet there was a sense of connection and peace in knowing that the same hand that fashioned the Grand Canyon also made me.
John Muir, the famous naturalist and conservationist who helped found the Sierra Club in 1892, wrote in his journal “I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” While we, unfortunately, cannot visit the Grand Canyon every day, most of us can leave our homes, offices, and cars and get outside for at least a few minutes each day. Even with winter bearing down on us, we can take the time to hike a local trail, marvel at a crescent moon, or just visit a corner of our garden with new eyes. Even Nature’s wildness – storms of every sort, volcanoes, earthquakes, waves, floods – is all the “orderly, beauty-making love-beats of Nature’s heart” Mr. Muir wrote.
So, what does this all have to do with you, and your work? A lot, I would argue. When we seek to re-establish our connection with Nature, we awaken a part of us that can get buried, or at least muffled, by the din of daily urban or suburban life. We slow down to Nature’s time, to her rhythm. Our bodies relax and are refreshed by fresh air and open spaces (and exercise, when possible outdoors); our minds are sharpened when we have variety and novelty (always abundant in Nature) to stimulate our senses. We can then return with renewed focus and energy to our everyday tasks and work.
I hope this month, you will take frequent breaks from the rush of the holidays, to go outside in order to go in to yourself, as Mr. Muir observed. I’d love to hear how and where you connect with Nature. Enjoy every moment.
Sharon Keys Seal