Disconnect From the News and Reconnect With Nature
When the book and the bird disagree, believe the bird.
~ James Audobon
If you are like me, perhaps lately you have felt like you just don’t want to hear any more bad news. From terrorism to infectious disease, the news is constantly reminding us of the threats to ourselves and humanity. To make matters worse, the news provides a platform for arguments and criticisms about how all of the threats are being handled. This inevitably leads into arguments about politics.
Recently, I was for the most part, out of the loop on the news and social media – a rarity. Here are my thoughts on this recent experience.
Last week, my friend’s father passed away. I stepped away from my routine of life to offer support and help with any behind the scenes details. This man was not only a gentleman, but a genuine appreciator of the beauty in life. He was a teacher, poet, painter and explorer. When his brother-in-law spoke about him at the funeral, the entire church choked up as he described how this wonderful man hand crafted a wooden child’s stool with painted scenes from children’s books for each and every one of his nieces and nephews. The man’s belief was that every child needed a stool to eat on, to read on, to play on, to sit and laugh and enjoy life on.
After the funeral, we all came together at a relative’s home to celebrate the deceased’s life, and although it was a very sad day, the energy in that house was filled with collective love and goodness. It really struck me how people come together in times of need and how beautiful and giving people can be. It was as if we came together and formed a big net of warmth and comfort for the family to fall into. While it will take time for my friend to process the grief of his passing, one thing comforting for her is knowing that her father really took in the beauty in life and the wonder of the world.
That evening, I continued on with my planned trip to the mountains to hike, bike and take in the fall colors with another dear friend. Ironically, there was a threat in the very mountains to which we were headed – a deranged extremist who had shot two police officers was on the loose in the wilderness and had not been captured in a month. I chose to keep my plans but made sure not to venture from the main trails. This “threat” was not going to keep me from having a wonderful time.
One of the highlights was the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail, a 25 mile bike ride along a gorgeous river along the mountainside. There were so many people enjoying the beauty of the fall colors and the crisp weather. It was refreshing to see that people were not paralyzed by fear and that together, we can really enjoy life even when the world seems crazy around us.
There is something about a nice walk in the woods that really makes you feel like all is well in the world. One evening, I brought wine, cheese and my camera down to the lake and just relaxed while photographing the sunset. Throughout the weekend, I kept thinking about my friend’s father, all of the friends and family that came together and how great life and people can be. Throughout the weekend, I noticed how friendly and approachable everyone was in the town we were staying. While I’m not sure that people were more friendly in this town than in others, I believe that my mindset was completely different – and that I was tuned in to the compassion and love in the world rather than the fear and threats.
After a wonderful weekend away, I felt reconnected to nature and revitalized by the fresh air and vibrant colors. I returned to my parents to pick up my cat. The news was on. The news was reporting the threats of the world. Then people were on the news arguing about how to handle the threats of the world. Then people on the news began to argue about politics. I left the room…and wondered when I could get out for a hike again.
Here are some more photos from my weekend hike – click on the first photo to go through the slide show and enjoy!