The Nurture of Nature

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” —John Muir

Thomas_Moran_-_Golden_Gate _Yellowstone_National_ParkAndrea here, The Summer Solstice took place this past Saturday where I live (those of you in the Southern hemisphere had, of course, the Winter Solstice.) I always love the longest day of the year, and the golden glow of sunset stretching into the evening. It got me to thinking about Nature, and how aside from the four dates marking the change in season, we rarely stop and think about our connection to the rhythms and cycles of the natural world.

My musings were also sparked by the PBS series by Ken Burns on the history of the American National Parks, which I have been streaming over the last week. (you can see it here) In this troubling time of ills, both natural and man-made, I found it to be incredibly uplifting and inspiring.

“Keep close to Nature's heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
—John Muir

Americans are polarized about so many things these days, so it’s heartening to watch a show about what writer Wallace Stegner has called “the best idea we (Americans) ever had.” The idea of setting aside grand swaths natural beauty for posterity first took shape within another time of great conflict for America. In 1864, during the midst of the Civil War, President Lincoln signed the Yosemite Land Grant bill, giving the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoia trees to the state of California “upon the express conditions that the premises shall be held for public use, resort, and recreation.”

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