The Restorative Power of Nature

I don’t get enough exercise. I know this about myself. Some days, I am totally OK with that. Other days, I really feel like I would like to exercise more. Usually, the other things on my to do list take priority.

Yesterday, though, it was a beautiful, clear, sunny day, and I decided that before I fell into the black hole of time and tasks that appears whenever I turn my computer on, I would go for a walk.

Meditation and ReflectionI am blessed to live in a very beautiful part of the world – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. I also live in a semi-rural area, not far from a wooded area. There is a wide path through the woods, crossed by several streams. As beautiful as it is, in my busy life I don’t get there nearly often enough.

Yesterday it was calling me. Though I started out on my walk to get some exercise, that didn’t end up being the main focus of my walk.

I got as far as the first creek crossing. I stopped and stood on the fallen logs that form the “bridge”, and listened to the sound of the water flowing over the stones and fallen branches. That sound has always soothed and refreshed me.

My balance on the log shifted, and I waved my arms to stay upright. I heard a splash behind me, and turned in time to see the bright red flash of a salmon dart around another log to hide. I tried to catch another glimpse of it, to no avail.

As I turned to move on, a couple of people coming from the other direction said they had seen a black bear near the big puddles. I thanked them, and decided to carry on anyway. If I was meant to see a bear, I would.

I took my time walking now. I was absorbing the energy of the place, soaking up the sun and the smell of the decaying leaves and the gentle breeze and the greenery and the water and the songs of the small birds. Just being out in the woods was energizing me.

I came to the first big puddle in the path. The water was still and clear – I could see the leaves and rocks on the bottom and the reflection of the trees and the sky. I stood staring at it for quite some time. It was a form of meditation, like looking in a mirror, though I was not reflected in the water at all.

I am a reflection of all the events and circumstances in my life, and the events and circumstances are a reflection of what is going on inside me. I am not the reflection, though. There is so much more going on under the surface. It’s important to be aware of both the reflection and what is going on underneath.

I kept my keys jingling for the rest of the walk, so I wouldn’t startle any bears. I didn’t see any bears, but I did see a beautiful young stag.

As much as I would like to say I’m going to do that more often, I know better than to make promises I’m not likely to keep. However, it is there whenever I need a recharge.

What are some of your favorite experiences being out in nature?