Saturday was an absolutely glorious day that felt more like a midsummer day than the first weekend in October. Kaylene and I deemed it a perfect opportunity to do the Coppermine hiking trail, one I’d been hoping to do for a while but never seemed to get around to.
Unsurprisingly, the trek to the top of the hill is, well, uphill. Maybe it was fatigue from another crazy week of little sleep or just the absence of regular physical activity in the last few weeks for me that made it feel tough. The tree branch that practically drove itself into my forehead because I was too busy looking down at my feet to see it coming might have had something to do with it too.
Either way, we stopped a couple times (okay a few) on the way to catch our breath and give our burning legs a rest.
At one point, while making a joke about how the only thing we could hear was the near-deafening pounding of our hearts in our ears, we actually remained completely quiet and still for a moment and just listened.
No wind, no cars, no voices. Just our breathing and our hearts hammering in our chests.
The stark contrast of the stillness from the usual noise of life was both alarming and comforting in that moment.
I recently read an article in BrainWorld called Nature Deficit Disorder. It speaks about the negative effects of being disconnected from nature and too connected to/through technology. It suggests that the growing number of children being diagnosed with ADD may be a direct result of too much time indoors and not enough time spent being exposed to nature. (You can listen to/read some more about this here )
The article quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said ” the whole of nature is a metaphor for the human mind”. He and several other great literary heroes have warned of the dangers of losing our connection to nature- that it would result in “the corruption of the body, mind and spirit.”
All you have to do is look at our society to see they weren’t far off. We are a society that daily deprives itself of moments of spiritual and mental freedom because we’re too busy being busy and trying to get ahead and staring at our phones. (GUILTY.)
I will never claim to be an “outdoorsy” person, and I definitely prefer to sleep in my own bed than in a lean-to in the woods. But in the past couple of years I have started to realize the continuing sensation of burnout that comes with constantly chasing after society’s ideals of materialism, status and busyness.
I have found that a beautiful day somewhere outside with a friend and no cell service is the perfect way to combat that burnout.
Even though nature has served the purpose of survival since the beginning of life, I think God has also given us nature for the pure purpose of enjoyment. I imagine him stretching His hand over everything He created and saying “just wait until you see this!”
On Saturday I thanked God for eyes that could see the changing leaves and ears to hear the stillness. I also thanked Him for working lungs and burning legs and the beating sun because even though it was uncomfortable, it reminded me I’m alive.
To sum up my thoughts much more eloquently than I ever could, I’ll leave you with this most perfect poem:
I thank you God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spririts of trees,
and for the blue true dream of sky and for everything
which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)