Resolve to spend time with nature

“For I have learned

To look on nature, not as in the hour

Of thoughtless youth; but in the hearing oftentimes

The still, sad music of humanity,

Nor harsh, nor grating, though of ample power

To chasten and subdue. And I have felt

A presence that disturbs me with the joy

Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime

Of something far more deeply interfused,

Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,

And the round ocean and the living air,

And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:

A motion and a spirit, that impels

All thinking things, all objects of thought,

And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still

A lover of the meadows and the woods,

And mountains; and of all that we behold

From this green earth; of all the mighty world

Of eye, and ear– both what they half create,

And what perceive; well pleased to recognize

In nature and the language of the sense

The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,

The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul

Of all my moral being.”

– William Wordsworth

(from Tintern Abbey)

Many of our rainy and cold winter days are spent ducking from car to shelter, the out-of-doors a place to dash and endure. Working, exercising (or not), relaxing, all become indoor activities during shorter days.

Don’t slip into a habit. This behaviour will not only make you unhealthy, it is bound to shorten your life. (So will dressing for the outdoors while staying in a heated car or store.)

Make a New Year’s resolution to spend more time with nature. January weather is inhibiting. Yet something as simple as making a ritual of taking three deep breaths every time you step into the outdoors before dashing off or dumping the trash will bring a calming dimension to your life in a surprisingly short time.

If the weather is just too nasty, try bringing nature, in the form of flora, into your home and offices. I promise the effects will be instant and numerous. Place plants within the indoor environs you spend the most time in like the computer room, TV room, office, etc. This is where our air “zones” get pretty stale.

Each of us uses about six to eight cubic feet of air to breath, so it’s not long before we’re reusing. A plant, like an open window, can keep this air fresh. I mean fresh literally. Not only will a houseplant provide us with fresh oxygen, it will purify our air. A barrage of volatile organic chemicals – formaldehyde and carbon monoxide for example – frequent our households and work places. Plants absorb these chemicals through their leaves, taking them out of our breathing space.

There are myriad ways to add purifying greenery to your space. Potted and bonsai trees, terrariums and aquariums, green house windows, sunrooms, atriums and conservatories, your budget and passion are the limit. The simplest method, of course, is the addition of a few potted plants in every room. If you aren’t known for your green thumb go for plants that thrive on neglect, like air plants, cacti, or even some orchids which only need monthly watering.

Most importantly, plant a garden; it will oblige you to spend time out of doors. If you don’t like mucking about in the dirt, stick to a few strategic containers of trees and shrubs, or herbs that will need little care to do their magic for you.

Tip: Aloe vera is a great kitchen windowsill plant. Beginners will be happy to know it’s a hard plant to kill no matter how latent your growing talents. Aloe is also essential in this location for quick relief of minor burns, cuts and scrapes. Just break a piece off and apply the clear gel that oozes from the leaf.

Superstition: In parts of Africa, the aloe is hung over houses and doors to ward away evil and bring good luck.



We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates