Give Yourself a Daily Gift of Nature

Step Outside and Take One Minute To:

  • Feel the air
  • Inhale to notice a new scent
  • Listen to a new sound
  • See something new

By Sue Watts

This year, I didn’t have time to think of gift ideas, so I sent this message to friends.

Then, it hit me: I needed to give this gift to myself as much as to anybody.

I’ve always thought of myself as one who practices and preaches an awareness of nature, but in the past year I have only given my surroundings a cursory glance. 

It was harder to focus on observing than I remembered.  My mind kept reverting to stuff I should have done in the past, things screaming at me from the daily to-do list, worries about the future.  I had to yank myself back into the present.  When I did take a deep breath and clear my mind, the peace of nature and the curiosity it inspired settled over me and widened my horizons.

Some observations on what can make it easier to focus:

  • Schedule an appointment with nature. 
    • Step outside to greet the morning or the evening before you go to bed.
    • Take a minute before you step into the car or into the house;
    • Take a coffee break in the middle of the morning or afternoon
    • Think of your nature minute as dessert after lunch
  • Define the one-minute time frame with a timer.   
  • Try to find pinpoint the exact location of the sound.
  • To get a better handle on the scent issue, try moistening your upper lip below your nose (it won’t freeze).  Sometimes, moisture serves as a conduit for the molecules of scent.
  • Save the “see something new” until the end.  We rely too much on sight and it becomes too easy to think “oh, I see that every day” and to gloss over the fact that the shadows on the snow are not just blue but a deep navy blue.  Wait until you’ve tried some of the lesser used senses.
  • Resist the urge to use a camera.  Focus on taking in the sensory inputs as you experience them.

I’m going make this a priority and see what happens.  How about you?

Mountain Chickadee Photo by Bob Walker