It is no secret that spending time outside, in nature, is good for the soul.
I will often sit on my patio with a cup of tea to get away from work or stress and relax. Lying outside on the ground, however, is something different. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is.
The other day, I went outside and lay down for 10 minutes and watched what happened.
The sky changed before my eyes.
Whether it is dawn, dusk, afternoon, or midnight, it doesn’t matter. I lay on the ground and looked up at the sky. I observed beautiful, magical changes happening right before my eyes.
Clouds shifted and changed shape. The colors of the sky painted a forever-changing display of hues. The sun fell, and the moon brightened the sky. I was hypnotized by the show happening right before me.
I wondered why I rarely take notice of the exhibition that happens every day, right outside, above my head.
The sounds of nature captured my attention.
As I lay there, I tuned in to all the different sounds happening around me. I closed my eyes for a few seconds and picked up on the noises of nature. The wind rustled the leaves, birds chattered, crickets chirped and small creatures scurried by. Sounds I never quite listened to pricked my ears and gave me a new sense of the outside world.
I saw the world from a different perspective.
It is seldom that we lie down, on our backs, unless we are in bed going to sleep. Yet, when I was outside lying on the ground, I was viewing the world from a different angle. I was no longer looking down at whatever happened to be below me—I was looking up.
Nothing was the same. My perspective of the world was altered.
I felt small.
As humans, we are used to feeling big and powerful.
When I was lying flat on the ground, I suddenly felt small and delicate. A humbling sensation overtook me as I realized that we are so tiny compared to the grandiose world around us.
Little creatures are living their lives right there with us.
Lying on the ground, we will, for once, be at eye level with all the small insects, lizards, frogs and whatever other little creatures happen to be around us.
For a few minutes, we will get insight into how they live their lives. As I watched the interactions happening between the small animals, I realized that they are all just as much a part of this earth as we are.
I made eye contact with a lizard that stared at me from behind the shrubs. An ant journeyed up my arm and I watched it as it marched along with no intent to harm or attack me.
Every little creature is living its life here, too. It’s important to recognize that.
I felt the earth.
I felt the earth right beneath me.
Unconsciously, I started to run my fingers through the grass and touch the small stones beside my body. My feet wiggled their way into the sand and rubbed against the dirt floor. My body moved freely on the terrain.
All of the sudden I felt grounded. I smelled the scent of the mud, soil and turf surrounding me.
This is the land we live on.
All of it, down to the dirt, is amazing.
Birds and bugs flew above me.
Birds flew above me.
I was astonished by the way they moved so effortlessly across the sky. Butterflies, dragonflies and other insects fluttered above, simply and smoothly, as if they knew exactly where they were heading.
The deft movements of the birds’ wings fascinated me. I started to take notice of all the various motions different birds have mastered. I sensed an inescapable charm as I watched these majestic creatures traveling by air—living by way of the wind, journeying through the heavens.
I felt content.
After a few moments, I felt relaxed, at peace and content.
The earth we live on is a marvelous place. There are so many things happening around us that we fail to notice on a regular basis. Once we take the time to stop and observe the fact that we are not alone, we will likely feel connected and gratified.
Just lie down for 10 minutes and look up. This is an amazing world.
What Nature Can Teach that a University Can’t.
Author: Alanna Murphy
Assistant Editor: Elizabeth Brumfield/Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Author’s Own
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