What do you do when you feel that way? Afraid, lonely, unhappy? How do you make things better? Hey-if you feel any of those things right now, don’t read this post.
Go to see this video instead. Put it on full screen and then watch.
And after you watch it, come back here and we’ll visit for a while. And then let’s follow Anne Frank’s advice and go outside. Let’s get up from this computer and head to the door, if only for a few minutes.
Did you watch that video? It’s a huge wow, isn’t it? I never thought before about the dance of the flowers, the movement of their opening. Just wow for the whole thing, the images of nature he captured.
I enjoyed the advice from the speaker, Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast:
Learn to respond as if it were the very first day of your life and the very last day.
Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes to open.
Look at the sky.
Look at the faces of people we meet. Each one has an incredible story behind their face.
Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us.
Everyone whom you met on this day will be blessed by you: By your eyes, by your smile, by your touch, by our presence.
Let the gratefulness overflow into the blessing all those around you.
Encounters with nature always touch me deeply, create a gratefulness in my being. Sure, I talk a lot about dancing in this meadow…
But my most profound encounters with nature are still, quiet, silent, reflective, alone. You want to bring me to tears with emotion? Set me by a campfire on a chilly summer’s night, with thousands of fireflies flitting through the night, the moon lighting the night, and the stars twinkling all around. I’ll get quiet on you. Does that happen to you? You feel closer to God and the universe in certain settings?
Some of my most vivid childhood memories are being outside. Scuffling through fallen maple tree leaves on a school playground, argyle knee socks and my older sister’s hand-me-down saddle oxfords. I can smell the crisp air just remembering. Every season brings a different aroma in the air, have you noticed that? Autumn is probably my favorite when it comes to aroma.
DOG. Strudel is laying on a chair close-by, HER chair. Just now, her legs and feet started twitching, dreaming about being outside, I bet. Chasing a chipmunk or squirrel through the yard. Taking care of animals is taking care of nature. I love this child. When she came to live with me, she saved me.
FAMILY CAMPING. Camping trips with my family were awe-inspiring experiences. We loaded up into the car, pop-up tent behind, and headed somewhere interesting. The Smoky Mountains. Washington DC. Florida to see relatives. We spent our days outside, the pop-up tent was 1960’s era: just for sleeping. We scouted the woods for kindling, firewood, signs of wildlife. My brother is just 15 months older, so we had a big time goofing around and doing nothing important. No agenda, no worries, no cares. Just us and a creek or woods to explore. I was always felt a tiny bit uncomfortable at night in that tent. Would a bear visit our campsite again? Would I have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and get outside alone? Were werewolves real? Or Big Foot? I knew, though, that my father could handle anything that came along.
MY PLOT OF LAND. I remember clearly one project at school that was very meaningful. It was called “My Plot of Land.” We were required to block off a small piece of land, something like 5 feet by 5 feet. We marked it off and then went to sit it in every day for a period of time. We took our notebook and a pencil and we sat there and wrote essays, poems, stories about what we saw, heard, felt, believed. I wish I could find my old notebook from that. I bet I have it somewhere as I HAVE NEVER THROWN ANYTHING AWAY. EVER. Just ask my husband.
COWS. Some of my favorite memories are going out to my father’s family’s farm with my Dad to feed the cows on cold winter days. That’s really when my desire to not eat cows developed.
I enjoyed being in the field, in the hay barn, on the back of the tractor. I’d beg my Dad to let me ride in the back of the truck and sometimes he would. To this day, I will never turn down the chance to ride in the back. Ever. Here’s my Grandfather’s, then my Father’s truck. I hope to ride in the back of it again one day.
I had a hard time enjoying nature in the last place we lived. It was loud with traffic, busy with development, full of people. I think that way of life made me appreciate even more this one.
LAUDS. Here, at this farm in the country, it is different. I love to get my cup of coffee and head outside. There is a path that I enjoy walking with my dog, Blue. It leads up the hill behind and house and provides such peace to me. Morning prayer. Lauds.
There’s always something new to see.
CHICKS. These days, I’m heading to the chicken house for that Morning Prayer. I don’t think I will ever tire of seeing those chicks, who were born less than three months ago, jump out that coop door the first thing every morning. They are exuberant and thrilled and excited about the day. (I’m still hoping one of my hens turns out to be a rooster.)
PARENTS. My Dad and Mom came up to visit and my Dad built my chicks a fabulous roost in the chicken house.
WAGONS. I’d like to do this some time. A wagon train comes in front of the house every now and again. Does that count as connecting with nature? It does to me.
ASHLEY. My horse trainer and instructor (I call her my horse whisperer) said to me, “Why don’t we plan a camping trip with the horses ? We could stay a couple of nights on a trail.”
Here was my reply: “Do you know who you are talking to?! I’m not that person. I dream of being that person, but I’m not there yet.”
I want you to know that I’m working on it. Yes, I want to be able to sleep in the woods with my horse. I do indeed want to be that person. One day. One day for sure I’ll get there.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
Let’s try to open our eyes and see.
I find that some people drag me down and others pick me up. I want to be the picker upper for those I encounter. I’m going to try harder to BE the blessing.
Talk to me. Then, let’s head outside.
Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!
Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah
This topic spoke to my heart. I’m going to try to be the blessing too!
Your words and pictures blessed my heart this morning so much, here’s a huge thank you!
Just what the doctor ordered, or as my mom used to say "just hit the spot".
After waiting for warm weather to arrive here in the Ozarks, we planted our gardens 6 weeks later than usual.
I carried 40 pd. – 5 gallon buckets to water each plant individually from our
water storage tanks, 32 buckets total in a few hours time and something happened to my back, from my right shoulder all the way down to my leg.
Realized then, I am not 30 yrs old any longer!
So, with my back brace on, and ice tea in hand, I go outside and tour my gardens for inspiration and dreaming, reading, praying, and hoping.
Sometimes we are forced to slow down, sometimes coming to a complete stop,
to see what we are missing!
Your thoughts just made my day today, thank you so much for reminding me
to stop and smell the roses along the way!
Hugs from the Ozarks, Diana, Noel, Mo.
Beautiful and inspiring, thank you. I have no other words.
Lovely. Thank you for the video link. As I write this, I am at my office desk on the college campus where I work. My new-to-us rescue dog, Fozzy, came to work with me today, so there have already been two walks throughout the campus! As we were walking, I realized that without him, I wouldn’t have made the space to get outside — I would have stayed at my desk for hours without a nature break.
I love this blog! I relate to it so well. Thank you for this post and for putting the link to that video in it. It’s amazing! Made me cry. I will be sharing it on all 3 of my FB pages. Thank you for this today. I know people that need to see it.
Blessings to you! ~ Tina ~ 😀
I was just watching a butterfly get a drink from my backyard birdbath…..nature is the best. Thank you for the video, we all need to be reminded occasionally.
Rebekah: The video is beautiful isn’t it? I hope I remember the message every day. Just be. I agree with you about being the blessing to others. Each day I try to make a point to greet others with a SMILE. The gift is seeing them smile back. God gave me the gift of Kindness. He gave me the gift to see what is around me and be grateful for just seeing. I am not in a hurry anymore. The world may seem to rush by but I chose to get off the merry-go-round. Thanks so much Rebekah. God bless
Love your thoughts of gratefulness Rebekah. I must say that today was one day I needed to hear what you have said. Unfortunately I wasn’t much of a blessing to the young man and his son that is living with us. But, time alone with our Maker brings everything into perspective, especially my attitude. So, thank you! The video was great and much appreciated. I sit in my back yard of flowers and inhale the perfume they offer and the solace that is free for the asking, and say thank you for my life.
Beautiful message…Love you sister!
Deb ( Beachfarmgirl)
Thank you I am blessed and grateful that you shared this and honestly feel like a little bit of a better person because my eyes are open a little bit larger now and I can see more clearly…. <3
So very nice. Thank you for your words and mental pictures. I agree with your thoughts. They are peaceful.
From my very earliest days, I have been a nature girl. Outside roaming, dreaming, observing, learning, appreciating, enjoying. As I got older and life got more complicated; no matter where I was, God always provided me with a little bit of nature to calm me down and "ground" me. When, 25 years ago, I had to run away from the life I had just then, I took my two children and asked God for a place with a tree on it. I got a beautiful 4 acres in the Mother Lode. God is so good! And I LOVE my land. Every day, all the time. I really liked this blog; and I wanted you to know that it touched me. God Bless.
That is awesome. It reminds me to appreciate each day that I have. At one point in my life I might not have had these days.
WOW!!!!! Thank you!!!! Blessings abound. For once I am speechless and HAPPY. God Bless
For the record — you ARE a picker upper. A sister-at-heart and inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful video – the dance of the flowers is amazing, the words of the speaker a gentle reminder. I think it’s time to go outside now, on our side porch, and do one of my favorite things in the summer – be still… be totally in my skin… be amazed at the beauty around me… and watch the fireflies. Good night Rebekah… good night to you and yours and God bless.
Rebekah: I think you are that person you wish you were. Nature IS good for the soul and you have expressed it well here. I think we farmgirls are all in tune with it. How can we not be. Our gardens, our animals, our land are all so very important to us. Thanks for your blog today. God bless.
I am new to your blog, but I could not have asked for a better introduction to you. It was so amazing and heart felt
and you did touch me more than you know. I will be back again, Thank you.
Wow. Thank you for posting this video. I LOVE Ted talks!
I’ve so enjoyed finding the wildflowers on our new property, Bloodroot, spotted wintergreen, tons of Solomon’s seal and false Solomon’s seal, even a huge clump of ghost white Indian pipe. All kinds of things. This house is a flower gardener’s dream when it comes to landscaping, but I find myself looking past the nursery plants, running into the house shouting to anyone who will listen to come look at a tiny bloom on some obscure wildflower. Ahh. That’s the good stuff.
Thank you Rebekah for not only sharing this amazing video which touched my heart in more ways that I can express) but for sharing your beautiful life and family with us all. I find being in Nature eases my troubles and reminds me what is truly inportatnt in life. There is NOTHING more beautiful than what God has created for us all. Bless you always….
I decided a while back in order to live a happy life I needed to "be the blessing". I look for ways everyday to bless those around me. When we open our eyes to this miraculous world and really "see", we instantly partake of the the happiness that is free for everyone. It’s hard to feel lonely and sad when you become aware of what is all around you, and if you do feel sad, get outside, look around, and SMILE at someone! The world NEEDS you! You’re a kindred spirit Rebekah, and thank you so much for posting the video link…I shared it on Facebook.
LOVE the blog! I was sitting out in the veggie garden this morning with a cup of coffee watching the colors of the flowers and plants get brighter (even "glow") as the sun came up. A woman (friend of the family) called and asked for a recipe, told me a few stories about life 63 years ago, and told me that it was a blessing getting to talk to me today. An older gentleman always says may God bless you as people leave the grocery store. I love the simple things that automatically make me smile. We gotta pass this stuff along! May God bless you all!
I grew up between my grandparents farms and small factory towns. It never once occured to me that people didn’t watch weather or trees or animals or insect patterns all the folks did. People move around…folks walk and watch. I learned this for the first time in college, then again in my first corperate job. A co-worker and photographer commented on my 3 year old…"you’ve already taught her to be alive in her world not live in it…so many people are dead in their surroundings". How practical purpose and beauty combine so completly in nature…don’t pick the pretty ones …let them go to seed…
Thank you so much for sharing this website. It was just what I needed to put things in perspective.