Finding Nature

Good or bad, only a fool would assume that all days are equal. Good or bad, only the wise understand that all days are equal. I was/am/have been exhausted, in a funk, and spinning around in a vortex that I can’t seem to get out of. The minute I seem to get my feet back on solid ground, life starts spinning me around once again. This isn’t an unfamiliar refrain, but it’s certainly not my favorite song in the hymnal. I have a tendency toward optimism, and finding joys in the small details that life has to offer, but lately the deflated perspective from my whirling cyclone has blurred my outlook. It’s comparable to looking at the stars in the night sky while standing in the middle of a big city. You know the stars are there, but no matter how long you stare, you just can’t see them.

That’s been me lately… I know that beauty is all around me, and I’m confident that I’ll see it again soon, I haven’t forgotten where to look, I haven’t forgotten how to look, but just like the starry night in a big city, sometimes what’s right in front of us is very difficult to see.

Stagnation is the ally of my turmoil, and I refuse to languish, I do not intend to rot. I do not intend for this unwelcome moment to last long. If I can’t see the stars from my current post, then it is up to me to look harder, re-locate, or find the right tools to see once more.

“I am exhausted” is not an excuse, not today! Go out. Search. Don’t search. Get out of your head. Break the spell. Don’t search. Search!

I found it, or maybe it found me.

At the climbing gym, surrounded by pre-fabricated faux rock walls, and sculpted polyurethane “rocks” I was able to see. I saw nature, I saw friendship, I saw beauty, and for a second, inside of a building, on a cloudy night, in a bright and big city, I saw the stars.

Between two friends and the genius of Nature1 copied onto a sheet of salmon colored paper, I was reminded of the difference between looking and seeing. And was reminded that sometimes the only way to see is to stop looking.

“TO go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. Seen in the streets of cities, how great they are! If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”

-R.W. Emerson (Nature Chapter One/Opening Paragraph)

“Yet it is certain that the power to produce this delight, does not reside in nature, but in man, or in a harmony of both.”

-R.W. Emerson (Nature Chapter One/Closing Paragraph)


Carrot (Co-writer) theDIHEDRAL


  1. Nature (pdf)

19 Replies to “Finding Nature”

  1. I’m also an optimist and 90%+ of the time I’m perfectly happy. However, every so often I hit bad patches (just as everyone else does); I remember one episode that lasted several months where it felt like somebody had punched me in the testicles before I had got up and then the day went downhill.

    You’re spot-on with “knowing where to look but unable to see” and the cure for it. Don’t give in to lethargy and get out into nature. I love backpacking and usually find a trip out into the woods, or up a few mountains, or to walk on my favourite moorlands solves the problem. Or, at the very, starts to solve it. I think its because the sights, smells, sound and longevity of nature makes me realise how I’m an insignificant part of it and rebalances my perspective while getting the endorphins, blood and fresh air flowing around my body.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I love Emerson and this essay is so important (to me? in general?) Thank you. ❤

    My stragedy for dealing with this, these periods of life, is "do it anyway." If I know something normally makes me happy or means something, I just do it even when the black tentacles of depression are reaching for my heart. It's my way of saying, "You can't win, you 'effer." And then I try to surrender to what I see…as you've written here. Beautiful piece.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is so well-written. I love how you compare bouts of depression with trying to see the stars in a well-lit city. Also – “Stagnation is the ally of my turmoil.” – This is usually the underlying cause of my depression, but feeling down makes it even harder to make moves. Keep moving and finding bits of joy. Thank you for using your time in the vortex to create beautiful content; I hope you find your way out soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well written and paced. The message I received from this is that we must actively seek beauty and healing; being passive about it doesn’t get us there. And that it’s readily available for us if we truly LOOK. For instance, light pollution in cities bothers me — I like seeing the stars, damn it! — but then, the orange haze of the city sky is beautiful too. Thanks for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really enjoyed this piece. It’s funny to think we all are capable of being optimistic and going for our dreams and most don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t gotten around to write a review about it, but I recommend Henry David Thoreau’s book Walden. A quote from that book that I feel echoes in me was:
    “However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.”
    ― Henry David Thoreau

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  7. “I was reminded of the difference between looking and seeing. And was reminded that sometimes the only way to see is to stop looking” – like trying to clasp tighter on a handful of sand as it all slips through your fingers. Thanks for sharing. The natural world is the greatest distraction for those funks hey, no matter how small 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! And you’re so welcome! I just found your blog today and I’m really glad I did! I’m depression prone, and into natural health and physiology, too, so I think your blog is amazing! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼💗

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I live down the street from where Emerson and Thoreau used to *amble* together, now called Walden Woods. The woods are lovely dark and deep (to borrow from another New Englander) and there is nothing like walking the same Fairyland trails. Loved your post. Thank you.


  9. My mum has a saying: even when you can’t see the sun, it is still there. I wrote a post about this last week, because it’s easy for us to lose our way in winter. X

    Liked by 1 person

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