Today I will savor in my heart … Time in nature brings me a gift.
The landscapes that draw forth an ahhh from us can provoke a substantial and truthful reflection upon the inner landscape of our personhood and how we show up in the world. I am a horizon person; I appreciate seeing into the distance. Shorelines are important to me, a place of intersection. A beach, vista, desert, prairie, mountain ridge, or flowing water resonates most profoundly with my spirit and personality. While discerning a religious vocation, I went to the woods of Nova Scotia, Canada, to live for a month. The monastery was a bit like Narnia, and had once been a hunting camp. I lived in a small cabin, with no running water. A wood burning stove and scratchy wool blanket kept me warm. During those periods of deliberate discernment, once in the summer, and the following year in the winter, shaded by dense woods on the finger of a lake, I appreciated the confined womb-like landscape. I felt protected, contemplating a life-changing decision. As a young girl, my family camped each summer at Cultus Lake, Oregon, nestled in trees, and it was the family play time that nourished my spirit. Today it feels claustrophobic to imagine living without a horizon of some sort for a long length of time.
Reflect (I’m curious–please add your responses in a comment to this post)
- What outer landscape evokes an expansive deep breath to you? A sigh of letting go of everything that is not essential…
- What landscape nourishes you the most–a place where you feel like you’ve come home, or are home, in your body?
- What is the ripple effect when you experience an expansive state of relating with yourself and the world you inhabit?
One of my favorite scripture verses is this reading from the book of Ezekiel. I appreciate the generous imagery. I believe that connecting with nature brings generosity alive in us, and thus makes a difference for our own best self and our connections with the people we share time with outdoors. Nature provides, heals, restores, gifts, and demands respect.
Slowly read and savor this scripture.*
Imagine yourself sitting on the bank of a river. Where images or words resonate with you?
“‘Then he brought me to the bank of the river, where he had me sit.
Along the bank of the river I saw very many trees on both sides.
He said to me,
‘This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.'” – Ezekiel 47:6b-9; 12
*TIP: A lectio divina process might appeal to you, and involves slowly reading this scripture several times. This is the simple reflective process:
Lectio—reading and listening
Read the scripture slowly. Rest in the words. What word, phrase or image captures your attention?
Read the scripture once again. Sit silently. What meaning comes to you from the words you hear or image you encounter?
Again, read the scripture. What rises within you to speak to God about? Share your thoughts and feelings in a conversation with God, just as you would with any friend. Listen to any new awareness you may become conscious of.
Read the scripture slowly. Rest silently in God’s loving presence.
Journal about any insights or feelings that arose within you.
Conclude by reading the scripture one last time, pause, and then from your heart offer a spontaneous prayer.