Muir: Nature


“ Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.” John Muir


 A Forward Day By Day writer today reminded us of this quote from John Muir, one of our country’s most famous naturalist and conservationist who was instrumental in forming the National Park Service and the Sierra Club. In spiritual direction when I ask someone, “where do you find or feel closest to God,” the most frequent answer in “outdoors in nature.” In photosynthesis, trees transform light energy into chemical energy. I believe that the trees, the sun, the sky, the ocean, the mountains also transform some energy inside of us when we are outdoors among them. We see beauty alive and well at times where before we could only see ugliness in parts of our lives. We realize there is something greater than ourselves, something greater than our own problems. It is there for us. We do not owe it. It is a gift.

My experience is that when I have difficulty sleeping because of physical, mental, or spiritual pain, I sit outside or sit by a window and watch the sunrise in the morning, even on a cloudy day. The sunrise, the world outside can be a constant reminder of a new day, a new beginning, that there may be a new way to look at things.

Muir stands out as someone to remind us of the marvel of nature, particularly the wilderness, but he also reminds us of our stewardship of this gift.

Consider viewing nature, the outdoors, as one of our most important life-saving, life renewing remedies. It is better than drugs but like our own soul also needs care and love.