Adopt the pace of nature:
her secret is patience.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Some say that immersing yourself in nature has a way of healing your soul. With the world in economic and political turmoil, sometimes it seems impossible to find peace. Closer to home, this is especially true when you're trying to balance making sure the bills are paid on time (or at least before they get cut off), work, home, spending quality time with family, and attempting to nurture your creativity. There are other things that can be added to the list, as I'm sure you have one. While reading Amanda Soule's The Creative Family (she has a new book out by the way) I came upon the chapter that touched on the topic of introducing and encouraging our children to play with natural objects such as leaves, rocks, sticks, etc. That's when I realized little Miss A. and I needed to make a trip out to Radnor Lake, a beautiful nature area right here in south Nashville.
It's probably been a good 7 years or so since my last visit to Radnor Lake. We made it out there around 10am. There was a good amount of people doing their morning walks, shaded by the trees along the trail that ran around the lake. With the little one holding my hand, we started our own little venture. Just a few yards in, we were greeted by some ladies who told us that there was a lot of wildlife around the trail, specifically some deer. Sure enough, just a few more yards away, we saw two deers nibbling away at some foliage. A. was thrilled! Of course, like many other inquisitive, animal loving two-year olds, she wanted to get closer to hug one. Fortunately, I caught her just in time to miss a patch of poison ivy. Fun! We continued on our trail. Flying bugs whizzing by our ears, terrifying the little one, so she ended up on my shoulders during a good portion of the walk. At some point, I realized that instead of slowing down to look at all the things around us, I was rushing through like many of the people who were passing by. That's when I stopped, and as I did, I just happened to look over to my right and saw a deer standing only a few feet away from us. It didn't flee. It just continued to snack away while we stood there and watched. After a little while, the woodland creature began to move on quietly, going deeper into the woods. The entire time we stood there, I saw that most of the passerbys never even noticed the deer. Their focus fixed on finishing the trail. Or maybe they have just become so used to the fact that these creatures are around. On our way back, I made a point to stop and allow A. to soak in her surroundings. She gathered some acorns, played with a furry little caterpillar, picked up a few rocks and sticks. Once we slowed our pace, it seemed as if the trail really started to come alive with even more wildlife. An owl flew above our heads in front of us, landing on a branch close by. Other birds, like red cardinals, made their presence known. Slowing our pace down made all the difference. It's amazing what you see when you do.
To lie sometimes on the grass under trees
on a summer's day,
listening to the murmur of the water,
or watching the clouds
float across the sky,
is by no means a waste of time.
~Sir John Lubbock