Finding peace in nature

Walking through a forest dripping with witch's hair lichen (Photo by NCC)

Walking through a forest dripping with witch's hair lichen (Photo by NCC)

April 3, 2017 | by Marika Carter | 0 Comments

Do you ever just wake up in a bad mood? Or something, or someone, has you unsettled?

Sometimes the best way to clear your mood, and silence those “mice talking to each other in your head” (as my brother-in-law puts it), is to go for a nice long nature walk.

When my mom passed away in October 2016, I would walk every day by myself through the woods of Bronte Creek Provincial Park. During this time I would think about my mom and how she would have loved to be on these walks with me.

It was a warm, early November afternoon. Most of the maple and birch leaves had fallen, creating a golden mosaic on the path. I said out loud, “Mom, you can come with me, but you’re going to have to keep up!” Just thinking of her walking with me made me smile. As I rounded the corner, there in the fork of the path was a white-tailed deer. He was a young buck, judging by the impressive antlers that crowned his head. We locked eyes and I stood stock-still while he sniffed the air with black nostrils, his ears flicking around, listening.

A ray of sunshine emerged from the clouds, a blue jay squawked and the young deer nonchalantly strode off into the woods.

Stopping to smell and take in nature. (Photo by HSBC Bank Canada)

Stopping to smell and take in nature. (Photo by HSBC Bank Canada)

I felt sense of wonder and calm spread through my senses. For days afterward, it seemed as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. The air, the trees, the birds...all of nature was conspiring to make me feel at peace.

Of course you should never just wander off into the woods by yourself. Remember the rules:

  • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return;
  • Stay on the path and respect all living things;
  • Dress in layers (remember the old Finnish saying, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”);
  • Bring water and healthy snacks (and take any litter with you);
  • Bring a cell phone/camera — all my best photos have been unplanned!

Have a conversation with yourself; it’s amazing how saying things out loud can really put your thoughts into perspective! I hope you will try this — what I call “Nature Therapy.”


Marika's original post can be found on Nature Canada's blog.

About the Author

Marika Carter is a long-time resident of Bronte Village in Oakville, Ontario.

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