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Immersion in nature empowering

Immersion in nature empowering Immersion in nature empowering

I was dismayed to recently read in The Indianapolis Star newspaper a quote from President Trump: ‘Camp David is very rustic. You’d like it. You know how long you’d like it? For about 30 minutes.’
I had always heard of this get-away place for presidents as a wonderful setting for relaxation for our top leaders amidst a 24/7 demanding schedule. Not only have our past presidents found inspiration and rejuvenation there, but heads of state from foreign countries have met in this ‘rustic’ spot to build working relationships and actual international peace accords with our presidents.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, looking for a cool, secluded summer retreat in 1942, selected this rural hideaway in Catoctin Mountain Park. It has been used by every president since that time.
When I read of President Trump’s comment, I was reminded of a similar expression years ago by a young child who went on a picnic with our family. We had just purchased a wooded lot in Corydon and felt like we had won the lottery. Our kids were young, and I had ideas of showing them the wonders of nature ‘up close and personal.’ After we finished eating our lunch, the young girl wondered when we were going home. I was astonished by the question. She went on to say she wouldn’t mind staying if there was something to do.
To me, it was obvious there were millions of things we could do. We could lie on our backs and look at the sky through the trees and dream of the future. We could dig in a small plot of dirt and find all kinds of crawly critters and their nests. We could pile up rocks, clean up fallen branches and build forts in hidden places. What, I wondered, does she mean ‘if there was something here to do’?
I grew up with parents who took us out to see nature in all its glory and uniqueness. My eyes, ears and nose had been trained to see the wonders around me.
President Trump has lived for some time in tall towers in the center of New York City and in luxurious golf clubs in warm climates. The natural overgrowth of the woods and critters that inhabit it are not on his radar.
He is not alone in this perspective today. Children and adults alike often walk around in all settings with their eyes and ears attached to the current social media via earbuds. One cannot get the full effect of wind or running water without the sounds native to the place.
I have always found that I gained so much by being totally immersed in a natural setting. In such environments, I experience my ties to all of life.
There are so many lessons we can learn from nature. That is why I am so delighted that the plan to develop the old Keller property in Corydon includes a park in a natural setting of a hillside along Big Indian Creek. We often think that because we live in a rural area, we are all connected with nature. But often that connection with the outdoors is mainly with agriculture. We focus primarily on the harvest of crops and the maintaining of grounds for livestock.
We need to have our senses heightened to the full range of animals and plants, wind and sky, water and soil around us.
In these times when the fragility of our planet is becoming apparent, we can benefit from a fuller awareness of how ecological systems work. I sense that nature can survive without mankind but mankind cannot survive without a healthy nature.
I personally think God has created an amazing system of life on this planet and being a good steward is part of our spiritual obligation and privilege.
Recently, I saw a newscast that presented the horrible smog problem in China. Air pollution is one of the biggest killers of their citizens. One action to remediate the problem is the creation of ‘forest cities.’ The plan is to use buildings with outer walls that have been covered with living trees and plants growing on balconies. Carbon emissions that result from the use of fossil fuels are absorbed by trees that then emit clean oxygen into the air. These ‘vertical forests’ also will add beauty and interest to the cities as their appearance changes with the seasons.
I remember seeing such buildings in Bangkok, Thailand, years ago and assuming they would be on everyone’s planning board soon. Not so. Such innovation takes folks who realize the value of the everyday cycle of life around us and are willing to take the risks that come with innovative thinking.
There is much debate about the presence of climate change and its impact on our lives. All of us along the spectrum of attitudes about the condition need to study, think and act. Maybe it is time we all take walks in the woods, shut down the noise around us and really feel the presence of living nature. I think it is empowering to immerse oneself in nature and really feel a part of the ongoing life of this planet.
Go ahead try it. You might like it.