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Friday, August 3, 2012

Nature's Healing Touch

May the sun bring you energy by day.
May be moon softly restore you by night.
May the rain wash away your worries.
May the breeze blow new strength into your being.
May you walk gently through the world and
Know its beauty all the days of your life.

Apache blessing

Isn't this a beautiful blessing? It speaks to me of the healing power of nature, and just reading it gives me a sense of peace as I contemplate the feelings of the sun, rain, moon and breeze.

My daughter and I recently took a trip to Russia, the country where she was born, with a 6-day stop in London on the way.  London, Moscow and St. Petersburg, where we visited, are major cities with millions of residents. People rush aout, pushing and shoving and in general behaving rudely. Streets everywhere are packed with people and traffic. Drivers show their impatience at the slightest delay by blasting their horns. Tourist spots are jam-packed with people. Although I enjoyed our visit, I was more than ready to get back to the peace and quiet of my home in New Mexico.

It's easy to forget how much strength and rejuvenation I get from spending time in nature. The quiet and peacefulness calm frayed nerves. The colors of the crystal blue sky, a gorgeous sunrise and flowers in bloom are a feast for the eyes. The smell -- of pine trees or the desert after a (too-rare) rain -- is delightful. And the sound -- or absence of noise from traffic, sirens and auto horns -- is a welcome relief. I love sitting in a secluded spot, listening to the birds sing, the wind in the trees, and the absence of noise.

My house is filled with images of nature -- wolves, sunrises, sunflowers -- soothing earth tones and lots of light from large windows and several skylights. I can see the Sandia Mountains from my bedroom, living room, dining room, office and back yard. While they lack the beauty of the red rocks of Sedona and southern Utah, it still is such a treat to see the Sandias in their magnificence and changing moods every day.

I also now understand how crucial it is that I be outdoors in the light, whether hiking, walking around, driving with the windows down and sunroof open, or dining on a restaurant patio. I just naturally gravitate toward the light and the outdoors. I have always needed lots of sunlight, but during a trip to New Mexico a few years ago, I realized just how much I need it and how I unconsciously sought the comfort of sunshine and open spaces. 

I am blessed to live in a state with so much natural beauty and so many open spaces. Just 2 miles from my house, I can walk along the Rio Grande on wooded trails. Or I can walk on a dirt path between acequias, part of a 200-year-old gravity-powered irrigation system still in use today. I did that this morning, and was treated to the sounds of chirping birds and buzzing cicadas, and the sight of scampering lizards and horses peacefully grazing in their pasture. This was a much-needed respite, and a good reminder that I need to get out and do this more often.