Busy in our daily lives, we sometimes forget to notice our surroundings, the nature. We do not appreciate the wonder that is all around us and provides us healing power to live our lives.
No, I am not talking about our family and friends. with whom we talk on a daily basis. But our silent friend, nature. They are the one constant friend who is always around us and offer us a helping hand no matter what the situation.
Wondering what our silent friends want to teach us?
To the River: A Journey Beneath the Surface
There is a mystery about rivers that draws us to them, for they rise from hidden places and travel by routes that are not always tomorrow where they might be today. Unlike a lake or sea, a river has a destination and there is something about the certainty with which it travels that makes it very soothing, particularly for those who’ve lost faith with where they’re headed
The storey of the Ouse, a Sussex river where Virginia Woolf drowned in 1941, is told in ‘To the River‘. Olivia Laing walks the river from source to sea almost sixty years later on a midsummer week. In this exploration, Laing discovers how history is embedded in a landscape – and how ghosts never truly leave the places they love.
Laing investigates the roles rivers play in people’s lives along the way, tracking their complicated flow through literature and mythology alike. From the horrific Barons’ War of the thirteenth century to the ‘Dinosaur Hunters,’ nineteenth-century amateur naturalists who unlocked the fossil code, To the River unearths a wealth of stories from the Ouse’s marshy banks.
She talks about how the river moves through time and space and shapes the world. Joseph Conrad once said “the dreams of men, the seed of commonwealths, the germs of empires”. Their presence has always lured people, and so they bear like litter the cast-off relics of the past.
The hours when the mind is absorbed by beauty are the only hours when we really live.
The exhilarating interaction between what the river reveal and what it conceals may be what makes rivers such a rich source of metaphors. As Nietzsche knew, duality is at the heart of every powerful metaphor. In keeping with scientist Janna Levin’s elegant and unsettling suggestion that truth might only be visible “out of the corner of your eye,”
It is a mercy that time runs in one direction only, & we see the past but darkly and the future not at all. But we all have an inkling of what lies ahead, for against the ruins of the ages it is apparent that our time is nothing more than the passing of a shadow and that our lives… run like sparks through the stubble.
100-Year-Old Love Letter to Trees
Trees have always been the most effective preachers for me. When they dwell in tribes and families, in woodlands and groves, I adore them. I admire them much more when they’re on their own. They resemble lonely people. Like brilliant, isolated men like Beethoven and Nietzsche, not like hermits who have hidden away out of some weakness. The universe rustles in their tallest boughs, and their roots reach into infinity, yet they do not lose themselves there; instead, they fight with all their might for one goal: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to construct their own form, and to represent themselves.
Read Heamann Hesse Book
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
The Healing Power of Gardens
A neurologist and author Oliver Sacks, in a lovely short essay ‘Why we need Gardens’ part of ‘Everything in Its Place‘, talks about the healing powers of a Garden.
He writes about the experience one have while wandering through nature’s beauty, which includes a lush garden or a timeless desert, walking by a river or ocean or climbing a mountain. Through each experience, we find ourselves calm and rejuvenated with refreshed bodies and spirits. He mentions how nature impacts physiological states on both individuals and community health.
He shares his own experience that as a writer, he finds the garden an important part of the creative process, and as a physician, he has found non-pharmaceutical therapy vitally important for chronic neurological diseases: Music and garden. So he often takes his patients to the garden.
I cannot say exactly how nature exerts its calming and organizing effects on our brains, but I have seen in my patients the restorative and healing powers of nature and gardens, even for those who are deeply disabled neurologically. In many cases, gardens and nature are more powerful than any medication.
Sacks write that nature calls for something truly deep in all of us. The two traits in all humans are:
Biophilia: The love of nature and living things.
Hortophilia: The desire to interact, manage and tend nature
He specially mentions how nature can play a crucial role in healing people who are working long days in windowless offices and people living in neighbourhoods where there is minimal access to green spaces.
The effects of nature’s qualities on health are not only spiritual and emotional but physical and neurological. I have no doubt that they reflect deep changes in the brain’s physiology, and perhaps even its structure.
We have inspiration all around us. Whenever you feel low, just sit by a river or under a tree and you will see the positivity seeping deep within you.