It's a bit embarrassing to admit that my last post was in October--and now it's April...But I've been feeling the same kind of overwhelm that I expressed then. It hasn't been easy imagining picking up the pen, as they say...
But the other day I had to take a break from work, and I was standing in line at the post office. My usual tendency to "stay on track" by checking my phone was complete, as for once I was caught up on email. So I lifted my head from technology and took a minute to look out the window--when I discovered TREES...WITH LEAVES! They had literally appeared overnight with a green-gold hue of spring surprise that took my breath away. I stood in awe of the scene outside, grateful for having to wait a moment or two to mail my package.
This is one of the reasons that I left my beautiful Big Apple in New York--for more nature. Now in Chapel Hill, I find myself pausing in the late-night breezes when I take out the trash at night, just to listen to the whispering pines and drink a sky full with a blue moon. As an HSP, I know that nature is an incredibly important ingredient for stability and emotional well-being--and now there are studies that indicate that beautiful landscapes are valuable for other facets or our lives:
* Nature decreases stress.
* Nature decreases brooding.
* Nature decreases attention/fatigue.
* Nature increases creativity.
* Nature increases generosity & kindness.
* Nature increases vitality.
I once assigned a walk outside to my students in an Honors Lit class. These juniors were studying Emerson and Thoreau with me and I said, "Okay, your homework this weekend is to go play in the leaves!" They thought I was joking. And when they realized I was 'for real,' these hard-working scholars replied, "You're going to have to write a note home. Our parents will never believe us. We're not allowed to go traipsing out in nature just for fun." It was my turn to be aghast--and heartbroken. How (just how?) can you teach the essence of Transcendentalism without experiencing the beauty of the natural world?
Today, I would have the art of science as my defense. Here is an article that provides evidence-based research and "uppity studies" to justify what we all know is common sense magic: nature and flowers and butterflies and bees are not just pretty ornaments outside: they are our partners in health and happiness. You can read more here.
And if you require a clifton prescription for a walk under the cherry blossoms, just stop by the Clifton Corner. I'll be sitting outside on a break, lifting my head to the sun, listening to the birds--and happy to help you seize the day.
"As long as this exists, and I may live to see it, this sunshine, the cloudless skies, while this lasts, I cannot be unhappy. The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature..." -Anne Frank