Early Mornings in (My) Church

I believe in God, only I spell it n-a-t-u-r-e.
– Frank Lloyd Wright

I’ve often felt far more spiritual and connected to that essence each of us attributes to a higher power, or universal spirituality, while being in nature.

I find it nearly impossible not to relax or quiet the mind and break from the noise of the day if I’m immersed in nature. Whether it’s walking a woodland path, wandering along a seashore searching for sand dollars, or trekking up a mountainside and arrive at the top with that breathtaking view, those are my spiritual cathedrals.

This morning’s walk in the woods at dawn provided two delights for the eyes and my spirit: a jet’s orange streak contrail against the sky bursting from the rising sun, and a mist over the pond where geese go about their early morning rituals. Combine the early quietness with walking alone on leave-covered paths, and it’s little wonder this time of day is good for thinking and gratitude.

My most striking connection to the Earth and the spiritual within and without, undoubtedly came from exploring the multi-colored mesas and lands near Abiquiu, New Mexico. I’ve long ago abandoned trying to understand the why of this. Instead, I let myself be quiet as I walk there and connect to and the spirits and generations of those who trod these paths long before me.

In our digital-everything world, it’s too easy to succumb to those digital paths for everything from entertainment to solace. Yet we have, and always have had, an easier, more soul-satisfying way via the woods and deserts of the land. Although with civilizations sprawl, it’s sometimes challenging to get there, even in the smallest backyard, a green spot of nature is worthy of an imaginary steeple above it and a place beneath to ponder and reflect.

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