A pattern resurfacing in my life is the healing effects of nature on my frazzled nerves. As a brand new mom over 11 years ago spending the late spring and all summer on maternity leave, I strapped my baby girl into that stroller and we went walking multiple times a day. When the walls felt like they were closing in, I took her outside. It helped me breathe and gain perspective; I saw that the world was so much bigger than my worries.
In the spring of 2020 when the world seemed to be falling to pieces around me, and the anxieties of the pandemic, my kids, and my job just felt like too much, I went outside. By myself on the back porch, just to get some air. Standing out in the driveway, eyes closed, soaking in the sunshine and feeling the breeze, momentary escapes between Zooms. All summer I sat on a plastic folding chair while the kids splashed and laughed (and argued) in a janky front-yard pool nearby. More reminders and opportunities to breathe and try to find a new outlook.
Yesterday, my mom and I took my kids to our local botanic gardens for the first time since the pandemic hit our part of the world. It was glorious. We walked, looked at flowers, read placards staked into the ground to learn the names of trees. We fed the fish and watched the ducks play and splash. Per the oldest child’s insistence, we visited the gift shop. Each babe got a trinket to bring home. (Pre-teen daughter chose a Japanese rice bowl set. Toddler boy chose a plastic koi fish for the bathtub. It lights up in water - a fun tub-time surprise neither of us expected. All house members visited bathtime last night to see “Freddie’s” luminescence.)
At the gardens as we walked and explored and talked and breathed, I was reminded again of the healing powers of the outdoors. Like a balm for my anxieties, nature soothes my worries of our fractured world.