22 April, 2015

Journaling Earth Day

Today we continue our series on journal ideas and tips. You can find my previous entries in the series here.

Today is Earth Day. 

We are called to be stewards of the earth, meaning we need to care, cultivate and protect the world around us.

Too often we forget to step back and enjoy the natural beauty all around us. It often takes getting somewhere incredible for us to remember. There is something humbling and creative in nature. It can rejuvenate, inspire, humble and heal. 

John Muir, naturalist and father of the National Parks, said "Going to the mountains is going home." And I could not agree more. 

I grew up in the beauty of the mountains, on a 300 acre ranch in the middle of the national forest. It was remarkable. The quiet, the color of the sky, the beauty of the snow, the sound of the river. The rhythms of nature were my heartbeat and because we had always lived there it wasn't until we moved away that I realized how much nature was a part of me.

I'd spend HOURS outside, being an explorer, running through the woods. I had favorite overlooks and places to cross the rivers. We had horses, and I enjoyed them, but I preferred to get where I needed to be via foot or bike. 

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.” ― John Muir, Our National Parks
I long to return to the mountains. I long to settle near a brook and hear the water again. I long to get snowed in and have nothing but the imprint of horses' hooves to tell me others exist.

Muir found God in the mountains. He compared Yosemite, where he spent a good majority of his life, to a cathedral. Why do we build lavish churches when we have His creation all around us? In many ways my upbringing shaped my view of God. I saw His handiwork in the mountains, the valley, the incredible sunrises, the wildflower fields.

"The mountains are calling and I must go," Muir also said. Maybe there is something intrinsic in all of us calling us back to nature. If we can learn to appreciate it, without the need to exploit or dominate it, we will all be better for it.

So on this Earth Day, I offer up two challenges for you:

1. Go to nature! Be it a park, a preserve, a waterfront, a National Park. Go and just be! Take some time to sit and reflect. Leave your cell phone behind, don't take music - nothing to distract you. Just you, a blanket, your journal and the wonder all around you.

2. Write about your favorite outdoor adventure. Did you go camping as a kid? Was there one family trip that really imprinted itself on you? Have you climbed to a highest peak or spent time in the river? Write about what you remember - get into your senses - how did it smell? What was the air like? What did you hear? Was it sunny or cloudy? Night or day? Did you eat anything? Get down everything you can remember - free write, it doesn't have to be logical. Just let your mind remember.

If you want to share, I'd love to read it.

Image via Sevenly

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© Amanda Lunday