I consider Nature to be a very good friend of mine, something in the world, (that in fact, is our world), that comforts me and is simply there for me no matter what my circumstances are at the time. These are some reasons why:
Nature and Mental Wellness
I was diagnosed with a mood disorder when I was 17 years old after falling into a severe depression. Even while living in the fog of this practically catatonic state, my parents would sometimes take me out to walk in nature. It was easy enough to do this, because all it involved was walking in silence. I was in a suicidal frame of mind so it all looked like ‘heaven’, and I longed to just exist in the scenery around me. I remember just standing still, my attention fixated upon a grassy hill covered in yellow wildflowers, the sun illuminating its beauty further, and I just wanted that to be it. In a healthy state of mind nature can still look like heaven, but the main difference is the desire to live.
Anxiety is another symptom I experience from time to time, and a walk through the woods certainly helps alleviate that state for me as well. I am not taking any medication for anxiety specifically, so being in nature or holding my daughter close to me are natural ways I can manage it.
Being Poor in Nature
Nature does not care if you are broke. She doesn’t charge you an admittance fee to reap her benefits, (although sometimes people do on her behalf. I am not disparaging here, especially when that money goes toward conservation efforts). But there are natural areas that do not cost a penny to be in so financial worries need not be at the forefront of one’s mind. Especially in her earlier years, my daughter and I spent a lot of time on beaches, on trails, in rivers, in forests, in fields and it was all FREE. Nature does not ask you what you do for a living, she does not critique the brand of clothes you wear. She makes no demands or judgements. She just offers you her company. It’s as simple as that.
Being Inspired by Nature
For writers a walk through the forest is an excellent way to let your thoughts freely wander and creative juices flow. It is a place to find solace, contemplate, and brainstorm in a distraction free environment.
Artists often are inspired to set up and make paintings of their natural surroundings. Then we can put these paintings, these pieces of nature, inside our homes where we can gaze at the portrayal of nature’s soothing beauty.
When children are left to their own devices in nature their imaginations are activated and their attention allowed to focus. For my generation, the last generation to freely wander in the outdoors as children, I believe my propensity to be resourceful bloomed there. I am both curious and horrified to see what this ability looks like in children who have had so little time in natural environments. If you have only nature around you, you do not have ‘things’. You make do and create your own things instead.
Those are the benefits to nature I wanted most to share here and they are certainly not all of them. I wanted to feature them, because I really do think of nature as a dear friend I care about unconditionally, and want to protect. In order to protect her, I want to inspire others to do so as well, because it benefits us ALL.