Summertime…it’s the time of year that the rhythm of daily life slows down, if only conceptually. No matter how old–or young–we are, the sway of summer suggests images of bright days at the beach and shady, lazy picnics; the fragrance of gardens and deep woods, nighttime sounds of crickets. Our windows are open just a little bit wider to let in sunshine and summertime breezes. For me, this idea of embracing nature and leisure time brings to mind something we all too frequently forget about: an all important sense of balance.
It’s so easy to allow the demands of daily life over-shadow everything else. Jobs, family care, to-do lists; all of the obligations that seem to take up so much of our schedules. For the late-autumn/winter/early-spring parts of the of the year (which is to say, most of the year,) living out of balance from the natural world is pretty much our default. An environment that is cold/snowy/wet may not be the most attractive thing to want to interact with. Yet, to hold ourselves separate from the natural world diminishes us. Focusing only on daily tasks can certainly knock us out of balance, and keep us there.
When we feel out of balance, we may not be aware of precisely what is amiss; we crave feeling grounded, and often reach for shortcuts that might soothe our unease. We might binge-watch TV, or eat when we are not hungry.
Its no coincidence that the word recreation can be read as re-creation. The sense of calm we get from nature is more than just an appreciation of its beauty. When we dedicate some time to getting back in touch with the natural world, we acknowledge our connection to it, and the fact that we are part of something larger than ourselves. Admitting that we are part of something bigger than us is–in it’s way–both comforting and healing.
So let’s celebrate summer, and do our best to keep our connection to nature year-round!