Wisdom From the Woods, Your Path to Joy - Betty Streff
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Wisdom From the Woods, Your Path to Joy

path to unknown

Wisdom From the Woods, Your Path to Joy

“Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.”~ George Washington Carver


I absolutely loved to climb trees when I was a kid. Summer days were long and sweet and I spent them outdoors from dawn to dusk. A shady hideaway high in the branches of a mulberry or a maple was my favorite spot to perch. The lofty seat offered me a panoramic viewpoint and I loved to sit in the upper branches and ponder. The wind tangled my unruly mop of blond hair but my mind became sharp and clear as I observed life from above.


I’ve loved trees as long as I can remember. Many years ago I purchased a simple framed print with Joyce Kilmer’s famous verse that begins “I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.” One of my favorite lines is “A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray.” It’s not surprising that trees have been a source of wisdom and inspiration in many cultures. A walk through the woods is ripe with metaphors of life, death, growth and rebirth. The circle of life is evident wherever you look.


Wisdom from a walk in the woods



wisdom in the woods


Getting into nature still untangles my thinking. Luckily, most of us have ample opportunity to get outdoors if simply to spend time in a park or green space tucked in the city. More and more, we are recognizing what Danish storyteller Han Christian Anderson advised in his classic tale The Ugly Duckling. “Green is good for the eyes,” he wrote, and it’s never been more true than today.


In His infinite wisdom, God put mankind in a garden. We were made to refresh and recharge in nature. Shinrin-yoku means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” It was developed in Japan during the 1980’s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.


where the path leads

Even when we don’t know where the path leads


Life can be tough and overwhelming. This has been a rough stretch for all of us. The separation from our loved ones has created emotions that are both unfamiliar and difficult to accept. It can leave a person full of questions about the very meaning of life. I’ve found great comfort and healing by immersing myself in what I call “dirt therapy.” Clearing the dead growth, planting colorful flowers. I see how spring always overcomes winter. I watch the land get green again and flowers bloom after lying dormant in the cold soil. The fullness of life is evidenced in God’s great gift of the earth. There is no more sacred place than under a blue sky with a canopy of branches overhead.


Need a lift? Need to find spring in your heart? Open the door and step into God’s great gift of this amazing planet! Love God, love the earth!




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