Monday, October 24, 2016

Parks, Perspective, and Appreciation

 Prompt: Park

// There is something about being in nature that is intensely restorative and healing to my soul in a way that nothing else is. 

Not that it is more important than anything else, but there is nothing that can really take its place. Since we live in an apartment complex in the middle of a very concrete city that leaves me constantly seeking ways to enjoy the nature that is not accessible just out my “backdoor.” One of those ways is to go up onto our rooftop porch and enjoy a view of the mountains at sunrise and feel the untamed motion of the wind. 

Another way is to enjoy the gorgeous park at the end of our road.

This park is the scene of early morning moonlit runs with my good friend, family picnics to celebrate special days, and nature walks for our homeschool. I think of how the national park system began in the US, the way the Byzantine Emperor Justinian legislated the public “ownership” of beaches and water ways so that all people could have access to and enjoy them, and the presence of public and national parks in our current home… and I am so grateful. //

We’ve been told by friends who live in other parts of this country where there is no national park that there is literally no where they can go for a family hike to get away from the city and out in the woods. The land has all been claimed and is private property. They would love to have that opportunity but would have to drive hours to find it. 

How many people, I wonder, face this same problem back in the US? How many people live in apartment complexes in the middle of our big cities and have nowhere to go to get away from the horns and traffic, the bustle and noise, the hordes of people everywhere? How many people can’t afford a house with a yard? How many don’t get to experience the calm of the woods, a good view of the stars, the sound of birdsongs outside their window? 

Being confronted with nature, wild and untamed, or even somewhat designed and manicured, gives a perspective on our smallness and place in the universe that largely escapes us otherwise. It brings us closer to the Creator of it all by removing the literal, physical walls that block our encounter with much of His handiwork. 

I never thought to be so grateful for the easy access I had to it most of my life, in the form my backyards and family camping trips and the general structure of the cities I grew up in. Now it is not so readily available and I treasure the public parks that are open to us. And I am thankful for those who thought further than themselves to the plight of others who can’t claim a bit of nature for private ownership. It makes me want to throw open my arms and invite others along to experience the other blessings I easily enjoy, but so many don’t.

I am continuing on with my Write 31 Days theme of "31 Days to Slowing Down and Living More Simply" with reflections based on my reading of Emily P. Freeman's book Simply Tuesday and the prompts given at the FMFW page. My "Five Minute Free Write" portion will be enclosed with // and any extra thoughts will follow.

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