There’s a tinge of change in the air. Maybe it’s the air’s cooling in the evening or the lack of sunlight awakening chirpy birds in pre-dawn. Perhaps the change is marked by kids returning to school.
Though a season’s transition is knocking on the calendar’s door, I remain driven to the outdoors. Late summer into early fall delivers a changing aura of excitement. Though I realize the months that follow summer’s high season suggest a slowing, a readying for hibernation, I can’t help but to await a sneak peek into what’s ahead for nature’s landscape.
There is something to be said about being outside, free from four walls, and a ceiling overhead to walls that know no bounds and nothing but stars and an endless universe overhead. Our innate desire to connect speaks, to belong to something, somewhere outside our known selves.
Robert Louis Stevenson said, “It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”
You can’t help but to breathe deeply as you tilt your head upward while acknowledging the changes to your mind and body. We, indeed, are caught in a web of air that emanates from trees. We accept this new challenge willingly; open to a new place to be.
For me, there was something about trees! I grew to know a particular tree, a birch, that grew in the front yard of my girlhood home. Its limbs, ashen white, looked like delicate arms swaying as if being tickled by soft breezes. Slender small leaves filled plumes of branches creating a canopy like an open umbrella. In developing a kinship with it then, I now am reminded when I would find myself among the unfamiliar and feeling discomfort or insecurity, that spotting a birch tree is like connecting to home. In my young girlhood years, my birch tree was a metaphor for living; my tree was synonymous with home.
It takes a mere walk outside, following a path through nature’s offerings of trees and wild growth to connect in organic ways that are free from confines and obstacles. The only conversation we hear in our heads is not of what we left behind at work or with our families, but the exchange we can see in how light filters through a gathering of trees, the sound of shaking wild brush from squirrels and birds trapezing through it, the smell of wildflowers interspersed in the beds of vines. There’s a settledness with every breath and mind-clearing meditation that encourages our spirit to be captured once again. And Mother Nature’s openness to join her in belonging gives us an opportunity to re-center ourselves and mingle with an outdoor spirit.
We are attracted to the outdoors because it offers us a place to be.
As Hermann Hesse once said, “Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.” Connecting with the outdoors in comfort, security and the familiar; it’s like connecting to home.
What are the ways you connect to home? How do you find your place to be?