Recently, I ran across a quotation from Ralph Waldo Emerson, something like “sky nourishes the soul.” It struck me because that’s true for me, and I began to muse about how each of us seems to relate deeply to a particular aspect of nature.
A dear friend simply mustget to a beach periodically. Something in her feels starved without that nourishment. Some folks feel that way about any body of water. My brother loves mountains like that and fortunately, he lives where the Rockies are easily accessible. For others, it’s trees or the deep quiet of new snow.
Once I had the opportunity to go along on a freighter making its usual run up and down the west coast. I sat for hours on the west side of the ship, where nothing was visible but sea and sky. The crew thought I was nuts—they wanted to watch the coastline. But I drank the sky like the richest imaginable beverage.
So it’s natural, perhaps, that I watch the changes and special events, the rhythms, in the sky. I once met a woman who said she’d never seen the moon rise over the eastern horizon. I was astounded—how could anyone not care about moonrise, I wondered. With a few friends, I watch for lunar phases and colors, the courses of the planets. Even in the city, where lights diminish most of the sky’s splendor, whenever I go outside at night, I look first to the sky. Not because it’s fascinating (which it also is), but because it’s food for my soul.
That response is simply natural to my inner being. The same is true for my friends who ache for water or feel awe in a forest.
We are tied to nature by something deep in our souls. And therefore we must make opportunity to feed ourselves with whatever in nature brings our deepest nourishment. We don’t need to know why, but we do need to honor our longing for connection with that particular part of the world which nurtures us. To honor means not merely to glance at it, but to take time to be still in that presence, to allow it to broaden and deepen, to “chew” it thoroughly and accept its nourishment.
What’s your most nourishing spot in the world? How long has it been since you stood there, aware?