It can be hard to know what to do when bad things happen. A person can become overwhelmed with sadness, fear or a list of responsibilities. When my husband’s grandparents passed away, we decided to walk in the woods next to the cemetery after the funeral. It was a sad but beautiful time to reflect on our memories, and be quiet and alone after the service.
I have recently come to the conclusion that nature has healing properties far beyond those that researchers have been able to document. Yes, there are well-documented links between nature and stress-reduction. Yes, they have demonstrated that nature reduces ADHD symptoms. Yes, there is actual evidence to show that those in hospitals with green views heal faster than those facing brick walls. (I discussed these all in previous posts.) For me, the healing power of nature goes much further than this.
There is something in the sweet repeated refrains of birdsong, in the gently rustling leaves, and the crunch of twigs underfoot that is not only relaxing, but fundamentally powerful and medicinal. It is something reassuring and life-affirming, that sends a strong message that life goes on and is worth living. It makes us remember that there are beautiful things in the world, and that everything is interconnected. For me, that “something” cannot be narrowed down to one thing, but comes from the experience of connecting with the natural world.
There is rarely a wrong time for a walk in the woods, but when something bad happens, I feel that spending time with the birds, the maples, and a gently trickling stream is the best thing you can do.
We will be taking our children to the woods tomorrow, and remembering and honouring another lost family member. There is no better prescription for sadness.