Last month, my friend David Brazzeal posted an examination of inspiration we find in nature on his Pray Like a Gourmet blog site. He then asked the question:
Have you ever had a spiritual experience in nature? Has nature caused that elusive moment of transcendence? Has some element in nature played a role in or inspired your praying? Has the Creator communicated to you through his creation?He then invited his readers to share their own moments of finding inspiration in nature. I recommend David’s blog for anyone interested in authentic spirituality in a non-traditional setting. This was my response in David’s blog site:
Actually, I think most of my spiritual experiences happen in nature. A walk in the woods never fails to elicit that sensation of a calm and loving presence. I’ve had more dramatic experiences hiking a mountain ridge in the foothills of Appalachia, or walking along the rocky coast of the Pacific Northwest.
One of the most memorable events occurred on I-20 in west Texas. It was about ten o’clock at night and I was on my way to California to start grad school. That particular day, I had wanted to get in as much travel time as possible. Driving through west Texas that night I encountered a heavy fog. There was practically no traffic on that stretch of road, and I kept making my way through the fog. Suddenly, I was completely out of the patch of fog, and everything was crystal clear. There were no visible city lights, no lights along the highway, just the bright, brilliant stars in the sky. Moreover, I was not accustomed to such flat terrain. I could literally see from one horizon to the other with no hills or trees to block the view. It was as though I were inside a huge dome of stars, almost as if I had been elevated into the realms of space itself. There was still no other traffic on the road. I had to pull over to see more of this. I got out of the car, looked all around, then did a crazy little dance for joy. Even though I am describing that night, there are actually no words to adequately tell of the experience.
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I think that most people find inspiration in nature. During this autumn season, perhaps we should all take some time to slow down and recall again the inspiration we have known in the outdoor spaces. Spend some time this week getting reacquainted with nature if you have been too busy with the cares of work and duty.
Photo: A view along Shades Creek near Flora Johnston Park, Birmingham, Alabama
Credit: Charles Kinnaird