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Experiencing the Natural World

Monday, Jul. 8, 2019

I just read an article in the May/June 2019 issue of Sierra Magazine. The cover story is “Everybody Needs Beauty” with the subtitle, “Time in Nature Should Be a Human Right.” The basic premise of the article is that the “psychological, physical and cognitive benefits of nature connection may be universal, but access to natural areas is not.” I thought this is an interesting concept and it made me think about my recent experience.

I live in a city, specifically Los Angeles. I sometimes go to 2 parks that are close and I also go to the beach occasionally. Those events provide me with a feeling of rejuvenation and relaxation. Recently, however, I was able to take a vacation in a rural area. When night time arrived, I was shocked to see so many stars in the sky. Due to the light pollution of a city, I had forgotten what a night sky can look like. I had a magical feeling of being part of the universe.

At dawn, the there was a riot of bird calls. I wasn’t annoyed at being awaken with so much noise. Instead it reminded me that birds greet every new day with a joy that is contagious.

And then there were the insects. Though I see spiders and ants in the city, I don’t get to see dragonflies, grasshoppers, crickets and praying mantises. These lovely and interesting creatures intrigued me.

The overall experience was more than rejuvenating and relaxing. It was a spiritual renewal. Yes, I agree with the article that everyone needs nature and everyone needs access to it.