Today, we miss the subtle changes in the wind, the calls of birds, the smell of the fragrant Earth beneath our feet. We leave little time for deep inner journeys or quiet walks in the woods even though we are indisputably connected to the Earth. Peace, joy and wisdom are within our reach, but we can’t find them while confined in our homes, cars, and offices.
It is in nature that our cup of joy fills to the brim. Joy is there in the yellow halo of a new morning sky. Joy is there in the animated movements of a gray squirrel leaping from branch to branch. Joy is there in the still, glasslike surface of the lake. We feel such happiness and joy in nature, because we belong in nature.
A joyous moment, when nature touched my soul began early one spring morning as I was walking along a narrow trail in northern California. The trail, more fit for delicate deer hooves than human feet, wound along the southern slope of Mount Tamalpais. Yellow grasses along the trail brushed delicately against my calves as I walked. Three hundred feet below me was a small narrow valley, where the sunlight gave way to the gray-green shade below. The fresh morning air felt cool on my skin and the sun was just beginning to rise over the closest ridgeline. A veil of fog was slowly lifting from the tips of the surrounding hillsides.
As I rounded the bend a few minutes later, a sight lay before me that completely shifted my consciousness. On the northern incline of the trail, in the sheltered blue-gray shade of live oak trees draped with Spanish moss, hundreds of the most exquisite wild white lilies dotted the ground. Each flower’s six pristine white petals appeared to be communing with the sun as the light streamed softly between the upper branches of the trees. It seemed as if I had innocently come upon a mysterious gathering of angels masquerading on Earth as flowers.
Elevated in that shimmering moment, every cell of my body filled with ecstatic grace and joy. Inhaling deeply, my lungs filled fully with the morning air still touched with the memory of the cool starry night. The sacredness of the place brought me fully into a moment of oneness with all of creation – a moment that seemed to span an eternity of time and space. I was the saintly white irises; I was the soft light of the sun; I was the powdery blue Spanish moss that hung gracefully from the branches.
When that moment had passed, I could hear with great clarity the delicate singing of the small stream below and the sweet songs of the birds. I felt lighter and immeasurably freer.
Nature is the perfect portal to these sacred moments of joy. We all have the ability to become something new when we fill ourselves with the elixir of nature. Just go outside and lay in the grass, look up at the trees and the sky. Take the time to enjoy the fragrance of the flowers and their subtle beauty. Do not fool yourself that these acts are less important than spending tedious, long hours working. Instead, let these wild things grow inside of you, and from this, your soul will be richer than it would ever be from a thousand promotions.
From this place of joy, the light of your spirit can then change the world.