Last weekend, my husband and I had the opportunity to travel to his parents’ farm three hours north of where we are living. On the way up, we went up a different route than we usually take because of a detour. I was looking forward to the drive and the change in scenery immensely. It’s hard to put into words the love that I have for these drives and all that it provides me. There is no greater symbol of freedom to me than the vast expanse of ever-changing fields bordering an endless highway. I love how in places small hills ever so gently roll, this time of year dotted with large round bales of hay. I love the autumn trees, their golden pallet displayed in the bluffs of aspen, bushes of willow or the majestic spruce sentries spruce lining a driveway. The different route provided the enhanced benefit of fresh vistas of ponds, groves, small town stores and weathered wooden barns. I simply could not take my eyes off the view despite my intention to work.
The drive home, although more familiar, was equally intriguing. I tried to look into the bluffs and sloughs imagine the mule or white tailed deer hidden within. My eyes scoured the fields for a momentary glimpse of fox and coyote. Occasionally, I got to see an abandoned prairie home, and tried to imagine the life that once lived within. One of the things that I love the most is the sky. Its vibrancy and the pallet of blues the sunlight pierces through. It was this prairie skyline where I first became aware of clouds, and how a cast of characters, awaiting only the limits of my imagination, were morphing and dancing across the skyline.
My love for the prairies started young, with the occasional Sunday drive where my 4 brothers and I would pile into a large, 4 door American-made car and head out on a travelling adventure.
I always enjoyed these drives, for both the freedom the skyline provided my imagination and the knowledge that a treat, in the form of a pop or maybe an ice cream cone, often brought closure to these short trips. Sure, as restless children we would sometimes argue with each other in the backseat, but my gaze would invariably be pulled outside, to the freedom promised in that blue, vast ocean of sky.
At that age I did not yet see the detail hidden within with the same level of perception that I do today, but the experience was equally powerful because it was more like its vastness reflected inwards, allowing me a sense of inner spaciousness that lingered long after we’d returned to the crowded city. And, in comparing my adult and child reflections, I am most grateful for the unparalleled sense of freedom these drives provided.
I realize that my description of my experience with the natural world is inadequate, as if I’d tried to capture the magic of a full moon with a photo, but the point here is that
to revisit the natural world is to remind ourselves of our life-long love story with nature. To lose oneself in nature allows all of our burdensome attachments to fall away, even for a moment, and unfold into the joy and freedom of just being.
If you have not recharged in this manner for awhile, consider doing so this weekend, and notice how once you let go and open - the opportunity for the most deep, generous and luxurious type of gratitude awaits.