by Liz Jansen
Anyone who rides a motorcycle knows the powerful connection with nature you feel while riding through the countryside. It expresses itself as freedom, exhilaration, and joy.
It nourishes our soul and connects us with our Higher Being. And even if you don’t believe in that, you can’t discount the connection with Nature we’re a part of here on this earth walk.
I love living in a climate that experiences all four season. While each has it’s energetic specialties, there’s something particularly enlivening about the energy of spring. New life bursts forth as we emerge from our winter hiatus when nature rested.
When trees were barren and snow covered the frozen ground.
It looked like nothing was going on.
Trudy, my motorcycle was parked in the garage, covered and hooked up to a trickle charger, her life support.
Recently, as I walked through the parkette at the end of my street, it gave me great joy to watch a young mom with her preschool daughter, walking hand in hand. I glimpsed them just after I’d crossed the footbridge over the stream.
Hand in hand, mom and the little blonde, curly-haired girl stopped to check out the blossoms. Mom let her take her time, demonstrating how to touch the delicate blossoms gently. You could feel the little girl’s delight as she felt, smelled, and sensed, awed by what she was experiencing. Her curiosity satiated for the moment, they moved on to the pond to check out the frogs.
When I returned, mom and daughter had meandered back across the bridge. Still hand in hand, they were discovering the mysteries waiting along the edge of the woods. Mesmerized, the three-year-old bent over to take in the fragrance of a blossoming lilac.
What a joy for all three of us to share, even though the little girl was lost in her own world.
Last weekend, after forgoing the express route and riding through the blossom-scented countryside, I visited my mom in the long-term care facility where she now resides. It’s not often she gets outside but I know she thrives on it.
My parents farmed for 55 years. While dad tended the orchards, mom’s pride was her sumptuous gardens. A bank of lilacs along the driveway, interspersed with forsythia and spirea bushes laden with blossoms in lavender, yellow, and white were highlights of spring. Between the lily-of-the-valley, peonies, irises, roses, chrysanthemums handed down from her mother, and a mix of annuals, something was in bloom until the snow returned.
Walking any distance has become difficult so a wheelchair’s become mom’s alternate transport. Once outside in the courtyard, she wanted to get up close to the flowering foliage. As I contemplated how to best get the wheelchair across the lawn, she solved the dilemma. She’d walk.
I held her arm as we moved tentatively from one vignette to the next, mom stopping to admire, touch the blooms, and stoop to take in their fragrance. The lilacs gave her particular joy.
It took me back to the scene earlier in the week where the mother was showing her daughter the marvels of spring. Now with roles reversed, the daughter was leading mom around so she could experience that timeless energy. Even though my mom may not always recognize me, her heart connection with the life around her was unmistakable.
Three times that week I’d been given poignant reminders in vivid technicolor. No matter what our age, state of mind, or method of transport, experiencing that connection to nature, even for a few minutes, connects us with who we are and feeds our soul.
What’s your favorite way of dialing in to nature? Your favorite ride? Tell us in the comments.