“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature.” Rachel Carson
One of the definitions of “healing,” is to cause an undesirable condition to be overcome: mend the troubles of … Our country is in desperate need of healing and mending. Our deep divisions must be mended or I fear we are lost. There is much research out there that touts the benefits of nature on our mental and physical health. According to the University of Minnesota, “Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, but it also contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.” If a doctor told us they could give us a pill that would do such things, we would all be lined up to get a prescription. And yet, this healing, miracle pill is available to us free and without a needed prescription every day if only we take advantage of it.
I think I shall propose to our politicians that perhaps all of our government capitol buildings should have a conservatory filled with flowering plants, butterflies, running waterfalls and birdsong piped through in the sound system. Passage through this nature-filled biosphere would be required to get to the chambers where so much anger, division, mistrust, and dislike reside. Perhaps this could be a balm to our wounded democracy. Of course, this will never happen, so where does that leave us?
Just before Christmas my husband came in from doing his chores outside and asked had I seen the strawberries? My reply of course was, “No, what strawberries?” It’s December, for Pete’s sake, why in the world would there be strawberries. The ones down in the strawberry bed, he informed me, ignoring my tone of skepticism. Of course, I had to go look. No, he wasn’t making it up, there were indeed a few clusters of strawberries struggling to turn red. Did I mention, it was the middle of December! It made me think of how amazing plants really are. The struggles, the adaptations, the harsh elements, they endure to produce the seed needed to carry on. They let nothing get in their way even though at times I think they get confused, just like me.