Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Nature Nerd Wednesdays

Welcome to Nature Nerd Wednesdays, your mid-week nature break to reconnect with the calming, refreshing, and inspiring effects of nature. Take a deep breath and enjoy...

Lainey Piland photo

“A single gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener. So our prospects brighten on the influx of better thoughts. We should be blessed if we lived in the present always, and took advantage of every accident that befell us."

-Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Life for me has been hectic and full of changes lately, and my days are flying past in a blur. It's difficult to center ourselves when it feels like each day whirls past in a continuous pattern: wake up, go to work, come home, sleep, and then do it over again four more times, and then... ahhhh! Two blissful weekend days. However, we can't rely solely on the all-too-short weekends to once again ground ourselves in the present and slow down each moment of our lives to a speed at which we can fully appreciate it.

Lately, I've found myself focusing on one particular thing - something I see or hear or smell - and allowing myself to stop completely and focus on that one thing for just a moment. This seems to press pause on my busy day, and allows me to mentally catch my breath. On my hike at Rasar State Park a few weeks back, we hit the trail shortly after a morning rainstorm had rolled through the area, and my attention was absorbed by each glistening drop of rainwater hanging from threads of moss and clinging to bare branches. I allowed myself the time to stop and stare and be fascinated by the simple beauty of a thousand shining droplets which hung from their tenuous anchors, gradually swelling until they dropped to the soft earth below with a distinctive patter.

[Optional soothing rainy soundtrack for this week's post. Warning if you're at work... this plays automatically when you open the web page!]

And yesterday at work, as I was walking back into the building after my lunch break, a familiar and unexpected sound stopped me in my tracks: the sound of a male Anna's hummingbird chattering and scolding someone from the branches of a nearby tree. That sassy little bird reminded me of the hummingbirds at my home who do the exact same thing. His unexpected voice brought a smile to my face, and for an instant brought my busy mind to a pleasant halt firmly in that one moment.


  1. What a great idea - to hold one thing in your focus for a moment. This reminds me of the Zen practice I've been trying to establish. Just this. right now. Ha, life comes at us, like a swift moving river. Thanks for your lovely photos and words.

    1. Look at that, I'm practicing Zen and I didn't even know it. :) It's almost a relief to be able to just stop for a moment and allow yourself to be absorbed in one thing... a sight, sound, or smell... but how quickly the peace in my mind is once again crowded out by the feeling of needing to hurry along and "get back to work"... It's a work in progress!

  2. Love this idea. It's so easy to get in a rut especially in the winter. I like to take a walk around my building at work everyday and I'm always happy to find a new mushroom, squirrels digging up their cache of nuts or birds fluttering in the bushes. There are usually some canadian geese around in the mornings to keep things interesting. :) I find my walks help me to refocus and give me more energy.

    1. Thanks for reading, Ashley! :) Going for a walk during the workday is such a great idea. I also go for walks during my lunch break at work, both for exercise and to refresh my mind. There's a house across the street from my building that boasts easily a dozen different bird feeders, and there's always a crowd of birds hanging out there. I like to stop and watch them for as long as I can, without seeming creepy and loitering outside the house... :)