Nature nourishes the mind and body. There’s something about it that resonates with us deeply and directly. From The Four Virtues.
“Nature is on the inside,” said French artist Paul Cézanne. “Quality, light, color, depth, which are there before us, are there only because they awaken an echo in our body and because the body welcomes them.” In this sense, we are not just on the earth; we are of it. Even our name, human, speaks to our origin, as the word has origins in the Latin humus, which means “earth.”
As if to convince us that our relationship with nature is very special, moments of ecstasy are most frequently reported as being “triggered” by nature. For example, at age eleven, my friend Debbie was alone on her swing set. As she described to me, “I was looking up at the sky, just watching. I don’t know how it happened, but all of a sudden it all opened up to me. I don’t know how to say it, but I felt that everything was perfect and connected. I can’t say I was thinking anything; it’s like there was no room even to think. It felt like my chest could just burst open and fly into a million pieces. It felt like I could explode and be the sun and the clouds.” Powerful moments like these can shape the course of an entire lifetime and help underscore a profound and sacred connection.