Staying Centered… and Getting Nature
As I’m writing this, the world finds itself in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the volume of information coming at you from all sides: the news, leaders of all kinds from every country affected, social media, and of course, friends and family. And here in the USA, we are being placed under stay-at-home orders. It’s no wonder so many people are gripped with fear and despair. Personally, I’ve gone through lots of varied emotions. Not true fear – mine is more of a cautiousness and a wait and see feeling – but I have had many days where I was really fed up with it all and some where I was feeling down. At other times, I’ve had a lot to be thankful for and even to laugh about. I want you to know it is okay to feel that way. It is okay to feel however you feel and to feel different things hour by hour, minute by minute even, especially in extraordinary times like these.
Now to shift gears a little bit. In the northern hemisphere, where I live, it is springtime. It seems hard to believe that the natural world is carrying on while we humans are hunkering down, but it is. And I, for one, am thrilled. I love seeing nature reawaken! I rejoiced when I saw my first native bees of the year using my bee house. Plants that I thought for sure hadn’t survived the winter began poking their heads out of the ground again, and I even had one of the eastern black swallowtail butterflies that overwintered with me emerge and fly off in the nice warm weather. Spring is the season of renewal, and boy we could sure use a renewal right about now!
With that in mind, I would encourage you to spend as much time as you can outdoors, or if you can’t be outdoors (we are in the midst of what we locals refer to as “the pollening” in my area where even a few minutes outside results in you being covered from head to toe with a yellow-green pollen) try to bring the outdoors in with flowers or plants. Even watching television shows about nature can help lift your spirits. Nature gives the gift of allowing you to just “be”. You don’t have to impress it or put on a happy face or worry about what you say to it or what tone of voice you use. You get to be fully you and nature accepts you as you are. Even better yet, as you become still and begin to acclimate to your outdoor surroundings, nature lets you in on its secrets. You begin to notice things you hadn’t seen before like new plant shoots or leaves that have suddenly appeared that weren’t there the day before. I’ve already been lucky this year to also see rabbits and deer that know I’m around but don’t mind my being present.
I tend to dislike writing in a journal, but I don’t mind posting on social media as much, so for me, sharing the new things I discover each day in a short post (or in multiple posts if it has been a really good nature day), is a good way to commemorate what I’ve experienced and allows me to share my findings, thoughts, and feelings with others. Many people remark on my posts directly or when I see them in person, and tell me how much they enjoyed seeing and learning about my various topics. The butterflies that I raise and release are especially popular topics. So if you feel inclined, share some of the joy you find outdoors with others and let’s see if collectively we can bring happiness to large numbers of people. Feel free to start right now by leaving a message in the comments as to your favorite nature moments. I look forward to reading them!