I’ve been away from home for about three weeks, and when I returned I noticed that the vineyards are starting to blossom with wild flowers.
As I look out from my house or from my garden I see vineyards in every direction. I see trees, flowers, bushes, birds, butterflies and blossoms. I hear beautiful birdsongs both during the day, and at night. I look up into the clear night sky as I did last night and the more I look the more stars I can see.
So, today, I am reminded about the importance of our natural environment in deepening my experience of life. In Japan there is something called “forest bathing”, which is just about spending time amongst trees. It seems that not only do we gain a psychological boost from being in the forest but the trees produce anti-inflammatory substances which we breathe in.
Richard Louv wrote a book about the importance of Nature for our health – he coined the idea of “vitamin N” (N for Nature) and he postulated that many of us are suffering from a disease – “Nature Deficit Disorder” – for which the cure is, of course, enough doses of Nature!
I know we are not separate from Nature, but rather that we emerge from within it and never exist outwith it on this Earth, but it is all too easy in our increasingly urbanised societies to become cut off from the healing influence of Nature.
Wherever you live, I expect that within half an hour or so of travel, you can find a park, a wood, a beach, a riverside walk, a lake or some other abundant area of plants and animals. Pop along now again. I bet you’ll feel the better for it.