We don’t have to travel far to experience nature. Many of us have special places that connect us to the natural world. Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Bob Hamma reflects on the lasting impact those places can have on us:
We don’t have to travel far to experience nature. We all have special places that connect us to the natural world. Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Bob Hamma reflects on the lasting impact those places can have on us:
One day in early September, my son and I rented a canoe and took a trip down the St. Joseph River where it crosses from Indiana into Michigan. The cloudless sky was a rich, deep blue and the light breeze created just a soft ripple on the river’s surface. Young turtles sunning themselves on logs plopped in the water as we glided by. We spied an occasional blue heron perched on the bank and a few swans moving gracefully through a pool.
The river was surprisingly empty of human presence. There were a few boys fishing under a highway bridge and a single pontoon boat. But they did not rob us of the sense that the river was ours, that on this river so close to home, there was a quiet, peaceful world without the pressures and demands of our everyday life. I like to remember that day, not only for its quiet beauty, but to create a peaceful space within myself. I want to carry that day, that river, within me.
I close my eyes and I am there. The river becomes part of me and part of the bond between my son Peter and me. It flows through my mind, carving a path through my psyche, laying bare the texture of memory. I travel upstream and remember the joys and sorrows that have formed the course of my life. I am carried downstream as I recall the people, places, and things that I cherish, moving always toward the great sea to which every river flows.
As the river becomes a part of me, I sense my life as a whole rather than as scattered fragments. There is a peaceful center, which I need only take the time to connect with. I know that just like this river I come from somewhere and am going somewhere; that I am a part of something greater; that I belong to people and to places.
When you are bruised or troubled, go to that place where you connect deeply with nature. Go to that river, that woodland, that mountain. Let the river carry you, the forest shelter you, the mountain bear you up. Close your eyes and go to that place which is for you a source of life.
Host Tag: Bob Hamma is a writer who lives in South Bend, Indiana.