Monday, February 25, 2008

Nature's Cure for a Weary Soul

An immersion into nature slowly ebbs the clanging thoughts of a mind, one by one. They fall away into much needed silence until you can at last be at peace, hearing the abundant sounds of life in nature.

The length of time it takes to find this place of mind-quiet depends on how long it has been since you were last in nature. I myself find that a simple hike near my home is no longer sufficient. It takes me days to unwind and fully embrace the voices of wind in trees, water waves lapping against the rock, crows cawing, or seagulls bellowing. Once I finally cast away all the useless dribble in my mind, power, confidence, and serenity rush in.

Nineteenth century writer, Elizabeth C. Wright talks about the dichotomy between civilization's conversations and nature's voice.

"…[We rush off into the woods, out of the way of finery and etiquette, and conventional rubbish, where we should escape from fashionable twaddle, gossips, and flirts – from humbugs and house-hold botheration, and to be free to rest and refresh ourselves at leisure. *

…When your soul is utterly weary with shaking hands with pretence, and conversing with make-believers, you too will be ready for such a plunge into the wilderness. **

…Away from this poisoned air, beyond this clang and discord, yet close at hand, a wilderness full of fragrance and music waited for us." ***

And once she was immersed…

"A grateful content, a peaceful rest, such as comes to happy children, settled upon us like dew upon the grass, and those who did not sleep lay listening to the 'voices of the night'." ****

Elizabeth C. Wright's comments struck a cord in me. I haven't been able to find out much about her. She wrote these words in a publication in 1860. She lived in New York and she was familiar with Henry David Thoreau's book "Walden." I haven’t been able to find a copy of her publication, "Lichen Tufts, from the Alleghanies." Another essay is entitled "The Nature Cure – For the Body" and "The Nature Cure – For the Mind."

Looking for more?

Elizabeth C. Wright, Essay "Into the Woods" is found in
"At Home on This Earth: Two Centuries of U.S. Women’s Nature Writing" (2002). The anthology includes famous women writers like Margaret Fuller (a transcendental contemporary of Ralph Waldo Emerson), Harriet Beecher Stowe (the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and of whom, Abraham Lincoln said "So you are the little lady who started this great war."), and Rachel Carson (author of Silent Spring, a book that kicked off a nature conservation movement).

Women Making & Discovering Their Own History

* At Home on This Earth: Two Centuries of U.S. Women’s Nature Writing" Editors Lorraine Anderson and Thomas S. Edwards (2002), p. 41
** Ibid, p. 44
*** Ibid, p. 47
**** Ibid, p. 48

About the Author: Allison Frederick writes on environmental and sustainability related issues, particularly as they relate to environmental psychology and green brand strategy.

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