Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash
A view of nature from indoors
April 17, 2023
I was the kind of kid whose parents said, “Go outside and play!” I preferred to stay inside and read for hours. Not that my parents were outdoor people. My dad did play golf, but we never went on picnics or hikes or—God forbid—camping. Dad would say, “I spent two years in a tent in India [in World War II]! I don’t want to go camping.”
I still like to stay inside. At the beach, I want to take a walk by the waves and then go back inside and read for hours (still!). A short hike is plenty for me, preferably with a real bathroom at hand.
Yet, even if I only want nature in small doses, I find time outside to be both energizing and soothing. I live six blocks from a park here in Portland, Oregon, where I can walk among decades-old trees. I look up at them and remember they are older than I am. They give me perspective.
Nature enriches me even from indoors. From my office window I can see trees almost as tall as the ones in the park. When I take a break, I look out at them, and at the sky above, and I feel invigorated when I go back to work.
Your This Earth Day, I’m grateful for the people in my life who love the outdoors more than I do and have given me the chance to experience nature more fully. I’m also grateful to those who were and are committed to preserving the earth for all of us, for its beauty and for the way it sustains us not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.
I’m grateful for the people in my life who love the outdoors more than I do and have given me the chance to experience nature more fully. A colleague who taught with me in a workshop in Colorado invited me to come early and join her for a weekend in Grand Lake, near Rocky Mountain National Park. Without her invitation, I never would have hiked at over 8,000 feet elevation and seen mountains over 14,000 feet tall.
When my kids were little, a seminary friend invited our family to join his on a camping trip at a United Methodist campground in upstate New York. We had only gone camping on our own once, and it was not a success. The invitation was to go camping with three families and five kids, seven and under. I remember thinking that it could be wonderful, or it could be terrible. To my surprise, it was wonderful! We camped with those families for six years. My son still goes camping multiple times a year. My daughter, like me, would rather read indoors, but she, too, has fond memories of those camping trips. These friends are like the grown-up version of my parents, calling “Come outside and play!”
This Earth Day, I’m grateful for those outdoor people in my life. I’m also grateful to those who were and are committed to preserving the earth for all of us, for its beauty and for the way it sustains us not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.
Rev. Margaret Marcuson helps ministers do their work without wearing out or burning out, through ministry coaching, presentations and online resources.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Baptist Home Mission Societies.