The Restorative Power of the Woods
:: The Restorative Power of the Woods ::
The clouds are beginning to hang low in the sky making the air cool and crisp, it is a sure sign that autumn is here. We have been waiting for these days all year long. Those afternoons when the sun hangs lows in the western sky casting long shadows onto the ground. The leaves begin their last dance to the ground in bright colors of red, orange, yellow, and deep purple. Squirrels and chipmunks run to complete the Herculean task of storing enough the winter months ahead. We set a path in the woods while talking, watching, and searching for all the beauty that autumn holds in our woods.
While we are there it occurred to me how peaceful a place it is and my heart began to lift. The world is a place with so much tragedy, heartache, and sadness. It can become an overwhelming merry -go -round of bad news. We try and shield our children from a large portion of it on a daily basis because we do not want their innocence completely lost. We don't want them to grow up too fast. But the sadness we carry as adults can be too much at times. Where can we go and what can we do to feel the release if only for a short time? The woods.
Our walks in the woods is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children these days. It is uninterrupted time together. We can release our adult worries and distractions while focusing solely on our kids. It reminds us that the most important work we do is loving our children and teaching them to love others. The woods gives us a glimpse into the natural cycle of life and death. That every season is a gift.
On this particular walk we came to an area on the trail that held beautifully slender trees with no undergrowth. The ground beneath our feet was a blanket of pine needles and leaves. The sun shone through casting tiny dancing shadows onto our faces. My oldest daughter said it felt a lot like church. I couldn't agree more. This holy space where we stand and witness the awesome beauty of the natural world.
On our drive home, my husband commented on how refreshed he felt. The walk restored his body and mind. I agreed. The restorative power of the woods had lifted the cloudiness of worry and stress allowing me to see the blessings of my life.