Let Nature Take Its Course

He leads me beside quiet waters.
Psalm 23:2b

I spent my teen years across the street from Lake Erie. I descend from folks on the Mayflower voyage of 1620. I suppose that is where I get my great love of being by water. I prefer a large lake, but an ocean, river, or pond will do. Fortunately, I live near a flood-control undeveloped area in Houston where I can walk along a bit of water.

It always amazes me how quickly my energy and more positive attitude is restored when I take time to walk that path. I am almost rewarded with sightings of turtles, egrets, or other wildlife also enjoying the area.

One of the great drawbacks of our modern urban centers is how easy it is to go for days without ever engaging nature more than a few yards at a time to get from home to car to work to errands to home. Too often we see the sky primarily through windshields and windows. Too often we bemoan the weather and too seldom do we pause long enough to really absorb the vast diversity nature offers us.

I write these words in November, overlooking a tree that tenaciously clings to the last few drying and decaying leaves still clinging to mostly bare branches. There is a gentle breeze that us causing them to wave like dozens of mini-flags.  The effect is like delicate golden colored lace waving. It is beautiful to behold.

Our ancestors lived primarily on farms where they were outdoors more hours than not during waking hours. I know their lives where hard and often also dangerous. I’m not advocating returning to those days. I personally wouldn’t know how to survive in that situation.

However, I do think we’d have fewer stressed out people if we could clear our calendars once in a while, turn off our electronic gadgets, and stroll down a country lane or beside some still waters. Not a water park. Not a resort jammed packed full of vacationers. Not a motorized boat that drowns out any natural sounds. But a place that is quiet and still. Just for a minute. It restores the soul. Really it does.


When was the last time you were someplace with limited human-generated noises and sights? What was it like?

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