Design

How I Found Nature (or Rather, How Nature Found Me)

Brooklyn brownstones

Every morning, before the news or work or even coffee, I throw on my sneakers and set off on foot…

A morning walk has been part of my routine for years, but recently, I have forgone listening to music or podcasts in an effort to be more present. If I get out early enough, no one else is around, and I can be alone with my thoughts. Outside thoughts, I’ve found, are different than inside thoughts. They are more expansive, more universal. They don’t get distracted by the mess in the sink or contained by ceilings. They want what’s best for everyone.

The walk doesn’t have to be long, although it could be — I’ll take whatever time and weather permit. As I go, I mentally say good morning to everything I pass, while breathing through my face mask, like a curious hybrid between Mr. Rogers and Darth Vader.

There is the very landscaped bed of flowers at the edge of the local playground. A little bird with a remarkably yellow stomach. The way the East River laps against the rocks. A bush full of hot pink azalea blossoms. A monarch butterfly perched on a window ledge.

These walks have no destination. Or rather, the destination isn’t a place, it’s a feeling. I know I’m there when all that’s left is the sound of my breath and the feeling of connectedness to everything around me. (Yes, at times, I feel like I’ve stepped right out of a Jack Handey SNL sketch, but I welcome this.)

Before, I held the natural world at arm’s length. It existed in Mary Oliver poems, through the windshield, inside the frame of an Instagram photo. But by and large, nature was something that existed on the way to somewhere else. It might have been part of the journey, but it was never the destination.

By circumstance, everything has changed. Now, grass is a destination. Barefoot is a destination. Shade is a destination. The wind is a destination. Outside — anywhere at all — is a destination.

I used to know this. As a kid, I would delight in the antics of a family of raccoons that lived in the backyard tree, descending to raid the trash cans or steal the barbecue right off the table. They once made off with a bag of Twizzlers — I discovered the empty package at the foot of the tree the next morning.

In those days, the yard was the ultimate destination. It wasn’t very big, but to my child eyes it was expansive. I didn’t have siblings, but I had my imagination, as well as the insects and squirrels and plants to keep me company. Everything I needed was outside the door, and I spent as much time there as humanly possible.

My quiet walks have reignited something in me that I’d forgotten since then. It can be good to find wonder in the natural world. It can be good to escape the plane of human concerns, even for just a minute. It can be good to feel small.

To that end, I’ve written before about why I love running races. You are one with the herd, a GPS dot, a mote of dust in the grand scheme of things. There are so many bodies moving in unison. I can’t make it fifty yards beyond the starting line without bursting into tears.

But lately, I don’t need the herd to feel part of the greater whole.

What I have realized, in my time at home, is that home is much bigger than I previously thought. Home isn’t four walls or even the hearts we share them with. Home is the great spinning mystery around us. Nature is part of that home. It’s always there, waiting for us to notice. You don’t need to set aside time or plan a visit or venture to a national park. You just have to look around.

This past weekend, I was stretched out on the couch with a book, enjoying the last quiet moments before bedtime, when I heard a ker-thunk outside. I went to the window, where a little masked face peered in at me. A raccoon on my windowsill.

It stared at me. I stared back. We blinked, daring the other one to make a move. Then it disappeared into the night, leaving me filled with equal parts wonder and panic. “Maybe it just wanted some Twizzlers,” my mom replied, when I shared the story with her. Maybe so.

After 18 years in this city (and eight in this apartment building), I still don’t know the full extent of who I share it with. That’s the thing about nature. There is always room for surprises.


P.S. How to take a penny walk and the case for personal rituals.

(Photo by Stella Blackmon.)

  1. char says...

    Love this–my boyfriend and I went for a walk last night, which was unseasonably cool, and stood on the corner for about 15 minutes to watch the clouds flame and dim as the sun set. It was gorgeous, such a perfect moment. Later he said “there’s something about being outside just allows your soul to expand beyond the confines of the walls we’re surrounded by all the time.”

  2. Raktima Bhuyan says...

    I loved reading this, almost felt like a kindred spirit. I have reconnected with things I love most in my morning walks: butterflies, picking up fallen flowers and bring it to my coffee table, subject to kindness of strangers: one found my fondness for plumeria blooms adorable and gifted me a branch to plant at my place. There’s so much nature has to offer; probably one of the many reasons human company doesn’t impress me much.

  3. Natasha says...

    Beautifully written – transported me back to my childhood adventures through the “forest” – at least it felt like one to me!

  4. Allie says...

    I loved this so much and felt calm reading the whole time. I’ve also found peace in going out for walks. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Klara says...

    *nodding with every sentence*

  6. Taylor says...

    Beautifully said ❤️

  7. Julie Imai says...

    Your writing is a balm. It can be good to feel small is what really struck me – I am going to try to embrace that idea as I navigate the day to day details of this new version of life. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and talent : )

  8. Isabella says...

    This is THE MOST beautiful thing I’ve read in a very long time. Thank you Caroline for always sharing meaningful insights in the most soothing way.

  9. Okay but why did that ending remind me so much of the heartwarming voiceover that comes at the end of a Modern Family episode. My favourite thing ever. This post is a work of art.

  10. Gaby says...

    I have felt so extra grateful for our yard and little vegetable garden in the back during these quarantimes, as I like to call it. We just got a bird bath this month and I love getting to witness so much nature from my dining table while I work all day.

  11. Irene Oh says...

    I’m sure you wrote this lovely essay before the Central Park incident, but the fact that one’s skin color affects if and how one is able to enjoy nature needs to be mentioned here.

    • Mary L Royce says...

      And how that breaks my heart/

  12. Rusty says...

    Oh, Caroline, thank you so much!
    We’re heading into winter here in Australia and even so, the wonders are everywhere. We just had a several day “once in a decade” storm that covered the Western Australian coastline, thousands of kilometres!! Wild weather. Nature was laid bare as I snuggled beneath the covered, praying that all the birds could hold on tight to their branches and twigs in the lashing gusts and whipping winds.
    The next day, as I raked up branches and leaves nostrils filled wiyh the delightful scent of soggy earth and rotting Autumn leaves, the wild Magpies came in for their sunflower seeds and all the birds, especially the little birds and the tiny Silvereyes, oh, how I relished the sight of them, safe and sound. Bliss. Aaaah!

  13. mary j says...

    I totally agree with you nature is so beautiful. These last few months have been so great knowing that we have all of the outdoors to explore. I find myself walking for hours just watching the birds, chipmunks as well as smelling all of the flowers, fresh cut grass and the pine trees as the sun beats down on them.

  14. Samantha says...

    i couldn’t love this more if it tried!! thank you <3

  15. MB says...

    Beautifully written, as always. And a good reminder to slow down and take everything in, which never goes amiss.

  16. I loved this piece. Thank you for this!
    I am also committing to continue to wear my mask while out to respect everyone’s health. You are worth it

  17. Terry McCaw says...

    Absolutely. I have taken walks and meditated my whole life, as a kid and adult.
    Still do it at age 60 today.
    When I pass by some one out on a walk who won’t go out without the headphones on, or who doesn’t know what to do unless they are gossiping away with a friend, completely oblivious to the simple wonder that surrounds them, I just shake my head and keep on my merry way.
    Sure it’s their right to blot out their experience with layer upon layer of artificial noise,
    But they have no idea what they’re missing out on.

    • KJ says...

      It all comes down to being alone with thoughts. For a lot of people, that’s profoundly uncomfortable, hence the ear phones, podcasts, constant scrolling.

      But you never notice the detail that Caroline describes here without your own thoughts having space to be.

  18. JP says...

    I started taking long walks before work a month ago to mentally prepare for work days. That has since evolved into running which I never thought I’d enjoy. I haven’t done it without music or my language app, but I’m going to give it a try!

  19. Heather says...

    I loved this! I too have been walking each morning first thing, on what I’ve been calling my “pretend commute.” Thought it doesn’t feel like a commute at all, as I leave my cell phone at home completely and just soak up the quiet morning. Thank you for putting into words how it makes me feel!

  20. Two words: Braiding Sweetgrass.

    I don’t think it was a mistake that I first opened this book the same week of the shelter-in-place orders. The words, the wisdom…it is poetry on every level. It is a must-read for anyone who relates with Caroline’s sentiment above :)

    The author’s words have noticeably shaped my outlook on the home around us, and I’m learning daily that its bounty has a direct effect *within* us. Every chance to be outside is a gift, and to actually live slowly through the changing season – well, my gratitude is immeasurable.

  21. Jen says...

    This kind of walking defined my twenties. Trying to find pieces of it amidst the rigors of parenting.

  22. Kim says...

    This was wonderful to read. As a psychiatrist I am deeply interested in the connection between nature and mental health and seeing many in our society re-discovering (or discovering for the first time) this relationship with the natural world has been so inspiring to me. It has been a bright spot in these darkest times. I have hope that it will carry us forward into a new, better future where we more highly value stewardship for the Earth and all living things. Amazing how much life is within each of our small corners of the world and how much of it can be overlooked. I ,too, highly recommend the book Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Also The Nature Fix by Florence Williams and How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott D. Sampson for more on the mental health aspects.

  23. Sophie says...

    Beautiful, Caroline. I very much enjoyed reading this right now. Love to you.

  24. Coco says...

    Isn’t that the truth. Yesterday morning I encountered my first bear on a hike about a mile or two from my home. I didn’t even know they were around in the area and I’ve been doing this hike for 5 years. Last week I encountered a fox. Another creature I had no clue was around. I’m used to coyotes, deer, squirrels, and rabbits. But these guys? Threw me for a loop. Clearly nature’s having a moment to reclaim its turf. It does make me feel bad about hiking. For context: I’m live in foothills of LA.

  25. Ceridwen says...

    this is beautiful medative piece. I can really relate and have found the same thing. I too cry in running races swept up by the unity of it, and the feeling that we are out here doing this positive thing, trying. I’ve found I’ve been much more connected to nature where I live during this time and appreciate it all. I’ve loved seeing others doing things outside, like walking and looking or riding or throwing a ball to a dog, doing lunges on a patch of grass. These things are the pleasures we find now without going anywhere really. It is connecting us. I miss expanses of space but are more tuned in to what nature is living here in the city. It’s right here, still ticking along.

  26. Annie says...

    I love this piece! I am so grateful that spring is the season in which we have had to experience quarantine. I live two blocks from a sprawling 300 acre, 150 year old cemetery in the city. I spent a lot of time there pre-quarantine but now I go there every other day for much needed peace. The entrance is pretty far away but there is a hole in the fence near my house (thank you, teens!) and when we climb through it it feels like climbing through a portal to another world! We walk, read under trees. I clear off old headstones and watch the herons, ducks, and red-tailed hawks. I even found a bald eagle’s nest and it has been incredible to watch them. I’ve been trying to identify wildflowers, too. Normally spring is very busy for me since I work with kids and have to prepare for summer programming. But this year I got to go back EVERY DAY to the same magnolia tree (planted between a married couple, swoon) for over two weeks to take pictures as it bloomed. Going through all of this in the spring gave me so much to look forward to everyday, a feeling that has been absent for so many of us lately. So grateful.

  27. what a lovely essay/poetry, I feel calm just reading it. I also enjoy my morning run but usually with a podcast, maybe I should try without it sometime to let connection happens with myself.
    love love this!!!

  28. A says...

    Long walks around San Francisco have become even better for me during quarantine. There are so many lovely gems in the native flora, architecture, and views. I keep surprising myself with how far my own two feet can take me, and I feel more connected to neighborhoods outside of my own.

    • JK says...

      Would you mind sharing some of your favorite SF neighborhoods to walk through? I’m relatively new to the city and have been enjoying getting to know the the city on foot in these strange times.

    • A says...

      Hi JK, welcome to SF! A strange arrival, I’m sure.

      I live in the Castro and lately have loved wandering through Corona Heights, Eureka Heights, and the Twin Peaks area. Lots of unique staircases and winding roads with beautiful homes (and views, once you get up the hills). I also love walking in Pac Heights and the Mission.

      I walked all over the city in my first years here and it’s really the best way to get to know it :) I hope you find the same!

    • Sasha L says...

      Thank you for this, I hadn’t read it in forever ♥️

  29. Michelle Bengson says...

    Rachel Carson, a famous author and biologist wrote, “To awaken your sense of wonder ask yourself two questions: What if I had never seen this before? What if I never see it again?” It works for everything. A cloud overhead. A garden strawberry. A scampering squirrel. A loved one (most of all).

  30. Emiley says...

    I loved this piece. I think it’s been interesting and poignant to see and hear of the ways Mother Earth has done so much nurturing to her children in all of this. It has made me want to try to be even kinder to her.
    And what Caroline wrote – and some commenters added – about the love of nature taking us back to childhood made me think of this quote from George Eliot (that I hadn’t heard since Jo read it to Beth in Greta Gerwig’s Little Women). I’ve been thinking about it ever since…

    “We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it, if it were not the earth where the same flowers come up again every spring that we used to gather with our tiny fingers as we sat lisping to ourselves on the grass, the same hips and haws on the autumn hedgerows, the same redbreasts that we used to call ‘God’s birds’ because they did no harm to the precious crops. What novelty is worth that sweet monotony where everything is known and loved because it is known?”
    – George Eliot

  31. Erika Burling says...

    This is so nice, we moved from Brooklyn 5 years ago and now live in CT., so the walks are more suburban, but I still go early when it most quiet. While I generally move extremely fast when I walk, I find that now I have slowed down. I too say hi to everyone and just sorta wander and am always amazed at how the time just flies. Walking is so grounding.

  32. Mary says...

    Ahhhhh. I loved reading this. You write beautifully Caroline! I felt like I was right there with you pacing around the block 🌳 and down by the river, 🌸 then later looking into your new masked friend’s eyes. 👀

  33. Tovah says...

    This really resonated with me! I used to love to read a book up in the crook of my yard’s cherry tree, and a week at Girl Scout camp was the highlight of every summer (Horses! Woods! Latrines!). It easy to grow up and stop caring about these things. But, like many of us, this Spring I’ve spent more time daydreaming in my yard and walking in my neighborhood than ever before. In addition to the reminders that our problems are small in Nature’s eyes, it’s good to be reminded of that happy little camper I used to be.

    • Sara M says...

      Camp Elliot Barker, by chance?

  34. Katerra says...

    Curious as to why Memorial Day was not mentioned in any shape or form on the blog.

  35. Molly says...

    Beautiful, just beautiful, Caroline. You have a sexy way with words.

  36. Kelly M says...

    So so good! I loved this essay. Nature is so powerful. I’m also doing my best to be more present and observant. I read somewhere that people often see but they don’t observe. I think about it often and notice myself seeing something but not really observing. I know people love listening to music and podcasts when they are outside but I think it dulls your other senses. This is truly a ‘take time to stop and smell the roses’ (and not just see them, but observe!) moment in time.

  37. JP says...

    I’ve been really bummed about not being able to hike as we enter prime hiking season. Normally by this time of year, I’ve already hiked at least 100 miles on the trails near Seattle. I live in the city and don’t own a car (I usually go with friends, use carshares, or use our trail bus to get to the mountains – but all of those options are out right now), so even though some parks are reopening, I won’t be seeing a trail anytime soon. It’s been difficult to properly distance in any of our city and bay side parks, so I’ve been taking to the streets of my neighborhood for long walks. I’ve discovered so many amazing gardens, hidden staircases, views, and gorgeous buildings I’ve never seen before. I even found a park I didn’t know existed – On the same street I’ve lived on for 7 years. Seattle is also notoriously hilly, so I’m still getting those elevation gains. I literally dream about my first summit when it’s safe, but there really is nature everywhere!

    • Lisa says...

      I live in West Seattle, and I’ve been doing social distance walks with a friend up the street. We walk around her neighborhood and have the best time saying hi to people out in the yards, stopping to smell lilacs, compliment someone on their landscaping, or visit with a dog through a fence. With everything blooming, I’ve enjoyed these simple walks more than going to Alki or a gym!

    • Em says...

      Hi fellow West Seattle-ite! Your experience mirrors my own. I’ve never walked so many miles around our pretty neighborhood as I am now, and I’m feeling extra grateful for the Sound views, hills, and nice neighbors.

    • Amanda says...

      West Seattle CoJ readers represent! I am so humbled watching the bees, birds, bunnies and other critters all over the West Seattle neighborhoods. It’s so touching to see the care that people are taking with their front yards since the stay-at-home orders were put in place. <3 <3 <3

  38. Brooke says...

    Oh this resonates SO deeply. I’ve over this last year discovered a whole treasure trove of writings that talk about the “living earth” as the place that holds us and gives us deep belonging. I’ve always loved nature but I find I often gravitate first to people, ideas, events, and culture for feeing connected. Now I am so appreciative of this sense of belonging arriving in a more immediate, visceral, simple way.

    Braiding Sweetgrass is a gorgeous read along these lines and this interview with the author is so precious.

    https://zoom.us/rec/play/upcoJO-o-G83H9PHuASDCvZ7W461Ka6s13cW__FcyEznVSECYQb1M-YaZeQf8YZvSfkJysYZq_rmeooG

    Asia Suler is another one and I love this quote:

    “Connection with the earth during this pandemic has been my solace— a place of meaning and direction, comfort and guidance. When I touch this world, I remember the roots of my own endurance. When I see nature go about its business— birthing flowers and unfurling leaves— my hope blooms as well. When I slow down enough to hear this world speak, I can trust that there is a wider wisdom and rhythm to things.

    In the biggest moments of challenge, in the hour of your deepest need, the Earth has come to hold me. On the days I think I’m alone, everything can seem hopeless. But everyday when I reconnect to this wider world, talking to the plants, journeying to a flower, or planting a start in my garden, anything seems possible. The resiliency that arises from being connected— to the plants around your home, to the trees, to your own inner knowing, to the *you* that is connected to everything— is, perhaps, the most deeply needed medicine of all.”

  39. Rebecca says...

    Nothing profound to say, except that I loved this post so much. Thanks Caroline!

  40. HP says...

    Love the post. Thank you, Caroline!

    • Caro says...

      Loved this!
      I recognize your feeling so well. The good side-effect of the whole crazy corona situation is that people seemed to go back to basics, away from very superficial things and are becoming more inward and nature focussed. People realize that instead of wealth, image and being on the move and busy all the time, it is very nice with more peacefulness, time for yourself and just talking to people you truly care about.
      Nature is also more obvious now when so many of the distractions incl sounds have ceased… I hope we will all come out of this situation as better people!

  41. AP says...

    Ooooof all of this, poetry. Thank you

  42. Kelsi says...

    “Home is the great mystery spinning around us.”
    Whatta line. So moving.

    In the search for spaces away from others, as heartbreaking as it’s been, it’s been good to reconnect with my inner child that had nowhere to be and nowhere to go, quietly loving nature’s minutiae, just lying on my belly marveling at the whorl of a flower or searching for pillbugs in the grass with my son.

  43. Amber says...

    Love this

  44. Mary W says...

    My home office is at the kitchen table with a view of our bird feeders and bird bath. I get to track the comings and goings of the 20-odd types of birds we have around. I have a reference book on hand and am keeping a running tally. This, and a nightly walk with my husband who also appreciates birds and plants, has kept me sane. I am very fortunate.

  45. SuzieQ says...

    This is a top 5 best-ever COJ post for me—in over 8 years of loyal, daily readership.

    Beautifully written and so important. Nature has been patiently, quietly waiting for us. I love that you—and we—are returning to her.

  46. CS says...

    This might be my favourite COJ post. I love when writing connects us to the universal truths that are so easily drowned out by ordinary, man-made routines. ❤️

  47. I always know it’s your writing even before I see your byline. And now I’m wondering if you have a personal Instagram account where you possibly share more writing? Would love to follow if you do. Love every word you write.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you, Sally, for this kind comment. I’m on Instagram @carolinecala — I don’t post as often as I’d like, but I do always share and link to my writing there. I’d love for you to follow.

  48. Mercy says...

    “like a curious hybrid between Mr. Rogers and Darth Vader” Yep, this resonates with me, haha!

    I went for a long walk around my local reservoir the other day, for the first time in a long time. I haven’t ventured out to nature during quarantine, so I was surprised to find myself absolutely OVERJOYED at the beauty of the water, the leaves, the squirrels. I felt like a child again. In my excitement I even had to fight back the urge to …gasp…wave at strangers!

  49. Edna Burak says...

    If you live in The Heights, as I think you do, please show some photos from Bridge Park. Perhaps, just the view from the Promenade or a Pier or maybe some of those beautiful quiet spots in the Park. Thank you

  50. Amanda says...

    It wasn’t until this quarantine that I finally started showing attention to the array of plants in the curtilage of our house and patio. I didn’t plant most of them. They were here when we arrived 9 years ago. Each morning like a army general I walk around outside checking on them and encouraging them and it’s been be a great reward to see the little buds forming and opening.

    • I have definitely gotten more attached to my houseplants while in quarantine. They are getting names. They have started multiplying (who knew the pandemic baby boom would start with my snake plants!?) and I’ve been repotting. Friends are getting photos of new sprouts texted to them, whether or not they are interested in seeing them. It’s a whole thing.

  51. Nicole Wight says...

    Thank you, Caroline; your posts never fail to bring delight!
    I used to dream of moving to Paris (for lots of things) because I thought I would discover myself in little places like people’s hidden gardens. However, with all the long, slow walks in our suburban home I’ve found countless gems: a child’s fairy garden that changes magically, a delightful street that includes a Spanish adobe style home and a cottage that looks like it’ was transported there from the English countryside, a Koi pond, and so many neighbors have gone all out on their gardens this year!
    “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with!” ~Dorthy Gale, The Wizard of Oz

  52. Omaya says...

    It feels poignant to read Caroline’s New York wandering story a day after a viral video was captured of an individual’s racist behavior in Central Park. I am waking up today as a white woman with fervor to commit myself to making outdoor spaces welcoming to BIPOC. I am also committing to continue to wear my mask while out to respect everyone’s health. You are worth it. Happy day to you all!

    • NH observer says...

      Thank you for that!!

    • Alyssa says...

      Yes Omaya! Another white woman, deeply grieved about the ongoing violence and committed to do my own inner work and outer work so that BIPOC can access all that they deserve and need in terms of safety and outdoor space . I’ve been doing Dr. David Campt’s anti-racism workshops which are so thoughtful and I know that white spaces will have to be more and more devoted to this together. May it expand and deepen!

  53. Ellen says...

    lovely! This resonates with the way I’ve been trying to channel my some of my favorite writers during my back yard sits recently. Aldo Leopold, Terry Tempest Williams, Thomas Merton– they spent their whole lives observing the seasons and years change the same spot and reflected on it endlessly … if only i could be so present (and write so well!)

    • SuzieQ says...

      Terry Tempest Williams is so amazing! I discovered her this year and it was like finding an unexpected gift.

  54. Lisa says...

    Long time reader/lurker, first time poster/commenter :)

    I just adore your writing Caroline — have you or the CoJ team thought about offering online writing classes/workshops during this time? I’m sure loads of us would be interested in partaking.

    • tc says...

      YES!!!

  55. Courtney Tait says...

    Absolutely beautiful rendering of your state of being, Caroline. This part is pure poetry:

    “By circumstance, everything has changed. Now, grass is a destination. Barefoot is a destination. Shade is a destination. The wind is a destination. Outside — anywhere at all — is a destination.”

    Thank you for sharing your gift with us.

  56. Jess says...

    “They want what’s best for everyone.” Loved the way you described the benevolence of outside thoughts. Thank you.

  57. Sue says...

    I can highly recommend the book ‘rewind yourself’ by Simon Barnes to further the journey you have begun… 23 spellbinding ways to make nature more visible

    • Sue says...

      This should read ‘Rewild yourself’

  58. Bec says...

    I love your writing so much, Caroline! I’m curious if you (or any other readers here) have read Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer? It is one of the best books I’ve ever read! It’s all about our relationship to nature.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! I haven’t read it yet but have heard such wonderful things. I’ll have to check it out.

    • Sarah says...

      I just ordered it from my local bookstore thanks to this comment and the 4.6/5 stars on Goodreads!

    • Brooke says...

      Yes Bec, I just was posting about Braiding Sweetgrass too. Love and reading now! How fun you might read it, Caroline.

      I posted it above too but here is a stellar interview with Robin Wall Kimmerer and Rob MacFarlane who wrote Lost Words (words about nature being lost by younger people but they want to reclaim…also has an amazing music album called Lost Words Spell Songs). Anyways both of them are so alive and present and cherishing to each other and the earth – and she reads a gorgeous excerpt from Braiding Sweetgrass starting at minute 6!

      https://zoom.us/rec/play/upcoJO-o-G83H9PHuASDCvZ7W461Ka6s13cW__FcyEznVSECYQb1M-YaZeQf8YZvSfkJysYZq_rmeooG

  59. Elise says...

    This is beautiful. I live in Seattle and have never been more grateful for the green spaces and forests in my neighborhood as I am these days. My 11 month old and I visit them regularly to breathe in the fresh air, gaze at the towering trees above us, and stop to touch the leaves. It makes a huge difference.

  60. Lindsey Joy Fox says...

    “Home is the great mystery spinning around us.” YES.

    For me, every moment of truly paying attention to nature – to the ladybug that hitched a ride on my jacket, or the massive banana slug my son wants to squish – feels like prayer. A ordinary sacred “I see you little dude, isn’t this – this being alive thing – wild?” moment.

    Anyways, thank you as always for sharing. Deeply appreciate you and the way you see the world.

    xoxo

  61. What a beautiful and peaceful read. Thank you for this! Very Henry David Thoreau with the simplicity of nature and profoundness at the same time. Love the imagery of the little masked face racoon and Mr. Rogers and Darth Vader hybrid.

  62. Carolyn Coggins says...

    I love this, Caroline! I am a regular walker and I love noticing the air on my skin, the small, daily changes as the leaves pop out and how each season brings beauty and amazing differences. Home is bigger than we thought!
    MY FAVORITE LINES:
    What I have realized, in my time at home, is that home is much bigger than I previously thought. Home isn’t four walls or even the hearts we share them with. Home is the great spinning mystery around us. Nature is part of that home. It’s always there, waiting for us to notice. You don’t need to set aside time or plan a visit or venture to a national park. You just have to look around.

  63. Sasha L says...

    I love this Caroline. The epiphanies coming out of this difficult time are often so beautiful.

    My whole world is centered around nature. The robin family in the nesting box out the dining room window (there were five eggs, but only two chicks; are the parents sad? Do they accept this loss as inevitable? What do they think of our faces peering at them through the glass? Of our lab who watches them quietly, paws on sill, for hours?). Our garden in the back: seedlings finally (finally!!) up, huge rhubarb plants begging to be turned into pie (settlers called it *pie plant*, they were wise), delicate white anemones and Lily of the valley, I can’t help but smile at their simple beauty. The lilacs and apple trees, blossoming in a riot of abundance. Bees on the dandelions, their bodies covered in yellow pollen (how are your allergies? Mine SUCK). The waterfalls, wild flowers, yellow bellied marmots, patches of mucky snow still hanging on in the shade, the sun’s rays beaming down through the evergreens, the sparking drops of dew on spider webs, sound of rushing water, dangerously full of snow melt from the high country (BE CAREFUL doggies, I love you so) on our hikes, our sanity saving, heart pounding, what was that sound!?!, I brought sandwiches (thank God!) hikes.

    Ahh. The earth is our mother. The Earth IS our mother. It all feels like a hug from mom right now. It will be ok little one.

  64. Leah says...

    Love this Caroline…

  65. Meghan says...

    Love this. Thank you, Caroline.

  66. florence says...

    Love this! Nature has been such a calming salve during this strange time… When I feel suffocated by the mundane tasks of homeschooling, cleaning daily messes, and juggling work, a breath of fresh air is what sets my family back to a better mood.

  67. miranda says...

    soaked up every word of this post. Thanks Caroline!!!