I have actually been asked what the point of nature is. Honest! I know the benefits of nature because I have experienced them firsthand. I know the deficits of places with no exposure to nature because I have experienced them, too. So I am speaking out of my own experiences.
As a child I had a vivid imagination. I got bored easily, so I was often in trouble. (Think Anne of Green Gables.) Two things helped me survive childhood: books and nature.
Throughout my posts, I have described my wonder and awe as a child contemplating clouds, leaves (from the underside) of tall trees, worms, tadpoles, lizards, toads, mountains and many other components of nature. Imagination was stoked and had no bounds as I enjoyed unstructured time in God’s creation.
As an adult, I had left-over issues from childhood abuse, and nature was, once again, my respite. Exposure to different forms of life reduced my stress, relaxed me, improved my mental clarity, and increased my sense of well-being. In effect, the child within me reached out to embrace the beauty of “my friend” – nature.
Numerous studies have been done, and the findings were consistent with my own experiences. For someone recovering from surgery in a hospital room, even a more natural view from a window promotes health. Why do you think people take plants to those in hospital rooms? Because bringing plants and pets into hospital rooms and residential care facilities such as nursing homes improves physical and mental health!
Frances Kuo has conducted a number of studies, confirmed by other researchers, showing that contact with even very small green spaces in cities leads to improvement in children’s abilities to pay attention, delay gratification, and manage impulses.
Most people in today’s world do not look to nature as a remedy for emotional problems. We rarely, if ever, see an advertisement for nature therapy, although we see many an ad for anti-depressants or behavior medication. Plenty of parenting books dole out advice on how to handle challenging behaviors. Rare however, is the advice manual that recommends time being spent in the natural world.
Try totally disconnecting either an adult or a child from nature and watch as deep depression takes over his/her personality. On the other hand, take a senior citizen outside where hummingbirds are humming, birds are singing, and leaves are swishing in the wind, and watch that senior citizen’s eyes light up with glee!
God designed all of His creatures, including humans, to experience His other creations. Once we started replacing agriculture with shopping malls, parking lots, and highways, I began to see more and more ads for anti-depressants on television. I do not find that unusual.
I have friends who walk together every night after dinner. It helps digest their food, gives them exposure to familiar neighborhood nature, gives them a chance to hold hands and be verbally intimate, and prepares them for a restful night’s sleep. That is the point of nature!
If you don’t believe me, just ask your dog!
So, as the photo shows, I surround myself with as much nature as humanly possible. 😀 And when I go to sleep at night, I have a sound machine playing. Nothing like the sound of the ocean and a few crickets to put this girl to sleep!
Please note: I am not a pantheist. In pantheism the Universe (Nature) and God are equivalent. I am a Bible-believing Christian who believes God is the Creator of nature. When He created humans He placed them into nature. It was called “The Garden of Eden.”
(c) 2009 April Lorier
God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. Genesis 1:31