“Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields…Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.” – Mary Oliver
I woke early yesterday. Before the other three were awake I poured coffee into my tall Starbucks travel mug and stepped out the door to greet the sunrise and let the birds sing to me. I did the same today. And it’s been beautiful, these walks alone before the world gets too noisy, and too hot.
I carry the loveliness with me through the rest of my day. The chickadee’s song, the fiery ball of orange rising slow, the glory of a magnolia in bloom — they weave their way into my bloodstream, snuggling into the farthest corners of my being.
And I am uplifted.
I have a mom friend at home with two littles. Every day, unless the rain won’t allow, she gets them dressed for a hike. It’s their routine now. If the morning was busy with errands, she takes them in the afternoon. Wearing rain boots caked in mud from the previous day’s trek, they walk along an ocean-side trail just a few minutes from their house. The youngest stops to throw his collection of sticks and rocks into the puddles, occasionally falling in himself. The oldest runs ahead through the brush and over driftwood bridges, the loose strands from her pony tail whipping around her face in the wind.
This is where we began. We belong out here.
“We all sleep so much better now,” she tells me. Of course we all know the benefits of fresh air and exercise, but maybe it’s more than that. Their spirits have been satisfied out there on the trail. And once we find peace, we are able to rest.
I would bet we all have things that nourish us that we don’t do enough. Life moves fast, fills up, and we get tired. Yet, how wonderful it feels to be uplifted! Every time I step outside I think, why don’t I do this more often? Well, I’m trying.
In nature I find a peace that is hard to find anywhere else. Things have their place, know their rhythm. Everything moves slower. All is as it should be out there under the tall evergreens, under the big blue sky. My spirit feels at home here, I feel held, loved and cared for.
My prayers bubble up from within me as one foot steps in front of the other. Help, Thanks, Wow, as Anne Lamott has written. And now I am ready to lift up someone else. Like my toddler when he calls to me from his crib the second I step back inside the house. Mommy! Mommy! MOMMY! Here I come. I pick him up, squeeze him tight, passing along the happiness and kindness I am now filled with.
It’s hard to be uplifting for someone else when I’m not taking the time to raise up my own spirit. If I haven’t touched a higher place — of beauty and awe, of joy and peace — how can I share this with others?
In a conversation with Krista Tippet, journalist and naturalist Michael McCarthy has said, “Clearly, we humans come from somewhere. And where we came from, where we emerged from, is the natural world. For myself, I cannot see our identity as humans as separate from the natural world from which we emerged. What I think is, that in the end our spirits have an urge, they have a longing still to be part of it…To be fully human is to recognize that the natural world is where we came from and it remains part of us. And without it, being fully human is something we cannot do.”