I love, love, love this time of year! Welcome to the October issue of CoSozo Living and I hope that the fall brings you as much joy and happiness that your body can hold! To me, each season holds its own unique magic and wonder, and as the seasons change I am reminded just how incredible our world actually is. That realization is in no small part influenced by the beauty of nature in all its forms so it’s a perfect time to have an issue that features an article about the healing powers of nature.
It’s so easy to take nature for granted. Despite all we know and hear in the media about what we’ve done to our environment, what we continue to do to our Earth each day, it is still so easy to take it for granted. The earth holds every one of our steps for us each day as we walk upon it. Each time we take a breath it is filled with life sustaining and life giving air. But most of us go throughout our days without many, perhaps not any, thoughts about what our world offers us.
I’m reminded of the incredible story, “The Giving Tree”, which I used to read with my dad when I was younger. I suppose many would describe it as a children’s book. It’s a small book and filled with pictures, but the lessons within the book are meaningful for all of us. In essence it’s a story about a boy and a tree who grow up together. At first the boy and the tree spend nearly all of their time together as the boy delights in climbing on its branches and spending hours lying on its limbs as he eats its apples. They are both filled with joy and they delight in one another.
As the boy ages and begins to discover new friends and responsibilities, the tree is left alone more often and misses the boy greatly. At each stage of his life, the boy comes back to the tree to get what he needs at the time - apples to sell for money, even branches to cut down for wood or fire, and ultimately even the rest of the tree for a home. At the end of the story the boy has grown to be a very old man, and has spent a lot of time away from the tree. Now the old man just needs somewhere to sit and rest and so of course, the tree is there to provide him with the only thing that is left, its trunk to provide a place for the man to sit.
I’ve never forgotten that beautiful story because it speaks to so many lessons, but I think it says volumes about our relationship with the earth. Our world continually provides for us, and I do believe there is a joyful energy that exists when we pause to appreciate and fully be present for all of its beautiful gifts.
It may sound strange, but I like to think that when I leave this world, the earth will know that I appreciated the magical, wondrous things that it offered. Like so many of you, those opportunities to pause and appreciate nature don’t happen for me each and every day, but throughout the years I have planned events that allow me to really get out and enjoy it to its fullest. Each fall my husband and I spend a long weekend with family at our favorite location in Michigan - Barothy Lodge. There, we enjoy incredible cabins on 320 acres of natural beauty, winding hiking trails, pheasants and deer and all kinds of fish and streams. It is beautiful and glorious each and every year!
Every year we all look forward to the trip. It has become a reward of sorts in my mind for a year that has usually tipped the scales in favor of more work and less sleep. (I, like many of you, am still working on establishing better balance in my life.) Often by the time we arrive, I’m just frankly tapped out. I’m exhausted and very much in the need of rest and relaxation. Four days later, having spent hours roaming the incredible trails, lounging on the couch in front of the fire reading a good book, eating, resting, and relaxing, I emerge restored, grateful, and at peace with the world. No TV, no radio, nothing but rest, relaxation, family, and an incredible environment to reconnect with the earth, one another, and to heal.
Those opportunities and those feelings are exactly what Tom Egan, our feature columnist, speaks of in his article. Nature provides for us, connects us, grounds us in unique ways that we have only to allow ourselves to receive. The very earth on which we walk, connects us to each and every other person who walks their own steps in their own part of the world. Our Earth, in all of its wondrous glory, provides for us innumerable ways to heal, to begin again, and much like the Giving Tree, to meet us exactly where we are, in the very ways we need, if we allow it.