nature

nature

In 1969, my brother-in-law who is an astrophysicist generously and patiently spent a long afternoon trying to explain black holes to me. After four hours I had a headache, but also a faint understanding of what these huge gravitational sinkholes might be.

I have spent the last 20 years trying to portray the sense of place I experience at the lake of my childhood. Located in Upper East Tennessee, South Holston Lake is cradled in the Appalachian Mountains.

Being in the presence of a deep, quiet body of water gently surrounded by this wise mountain range pulls me out of the shallow fray of my frantic life to rest in a centered awareness. It is a threshold — a true “thin place.”

"Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer.”

This Simone Weil quotation mentioned by Krista during her conversation with Ann Hamilton has been bouncing around in my mind. I was reminded of it as I watched the Minnesota Youth Symphonies perform recently. It wasn’t your regular orchestra concert.

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike."
—John Muir, from The Yosemite

These lyrical words from the great American conservationist are often cited, but what is far more interesting is the religious language he uses in the following paragraphs:

The push and pull between religion and science has shaped advances in geology from the beginning. David Montgomery set out to debunk Noah’s Flood; instead he discovered this biblical story was the plate tectonics of its day. He tells us how the evolution of landscapes and geological processes shape ecology and humanity. And, how we should read rocks for the stories they tell about who we are and where we came from.

A stunning full moon cradles a highline walker at Cathedral Peak. Bliss, beauty, and exhilaration at once.

Folks continue to gift us with picturesque images of their physical sanctuaries and healing spaces. The common themes? Home and nature.

"My favorite healing place: Pololu Valley, The Big Island, Hawaii."

A joyful lamentation over sealed spaces and the lessons Rosh Hashanah — and the High Holy Days — teaches when we have access to the gifts of our natural environment.

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