Connecting to Mother Nature: A priceless (and free!) gift you can give yourself
As I pulled into my driveway, I couldn’t wait to jump out of the car, grab my camera and begin taking pictures of the first snowfall of the season. Red berries against green foliage stood in crisp contrast to the delicate white flakes. Mother Nature in full regalia!
I was asked recently what my connection to nature is. I didn’t need to pause and think about this question. My sense of connection to the natural world provides comfort, joy and endless inspiration; connecting to nature is just part of me. I’m blessed to live on the water in Western Maine and find peace in contemplating the lake, distant mountains and all the beauty that surrounds me.
My relationship with nature began when I was very young. I grew up in a small Maine town in the 1960s, a time when childhood play was largely based on my own imagination. Behind our house was a well-worn path leading to an orchard where deer would visit in hopes of snacking on low-hanging or ‘ground’ apples, those that naturally dropped from the trees. Beyond that were miles of logging trails left for me to explore.
How I loved to wander along that orchard path! My father taught me how to find the trampled circles of grass where deer would rest under tree branches at night. The orchard was my playground. Along the logging trails, I would discover huge rocks to climb or simply rest in the sunlight. My parents didn’t seem to worry when I would go dancing alone in the woods; the belief was that I’d be safe.
Even through my teens, I loved spending time in the woods. I would sit and do my homework propped against a favorite tree or amble along the path lost in youthful thought. I loved to climb and remember one tall tree which, from its crown, I could see the local town two miles away!
As a longtime photographer, I don’t actually remember when I first began taking photos specifically of nature, but it feels like I’ve been doing it forever. My camera goes everywhere with me; out in the midst of a winter storm, investigating the first signs of spring, capturing summer sunsets or searching for the brightest autumn foliage. My experiences in nature are all viewed through the lens of my camera. I simultaneously find peace and excitement looking for the next shot. Sometimes, late at night, I’ll venture out on my wooden deck beneath the heavy pines, and under a starry sky, I’ll give thanks to the universe for the beauty of our world.
What does connecting to Mother Nature mean to you? Where or how do you connect? How does this connection (or lack of connection) impact your life? Would you like a deeper connection or do you have ideas to share with others for deepening their own connection to the natural world?
Photo Credit: Copyright 2017 DLDunton Photography & Fine Art