As urbanites, we spend the majority of our time surrounded by man-made things.
There's a Big World Out There
We often forget that there are vast oceans to be navigated and deep forests to be explored and expansive mountain ranges to be traversed. We fool ourselves into believing that most problems can be solved by well-designed blueprints and well-placed raw materials.
The daily expectations of perfectly functioning infrastructure, buildings, cars, restaurants and shops leave us far from the perspective a hike in the woods can bring. People, images and messages are everywhere. There’s no mental space to think and regain sight of our small place on the planet. We need vastness to right-size ourselves in the midst of a world typically focused on self reliance.
Expectations and demands are high. During any day or season, I can stop by a grocery store with fully stocked shelves and overflowing piles of produce from around the world. In an urban culture of Amazon Prime Now, where many items can be delivered to my doorstep within an hour, the idea of delaying desires is antiquated. No one waits for fresh, in-season blackberries, they just grab the expensive ones that have been imported from another climate.
We lose sight of the fact that a seed had to be planted, watered, fertilized and protected. And the fruit had to be nurtured, harvested, sorted, packaged and shipped. There are farmers, brokers, bankers, truckers, cold/dry storage managers, marketers and retailers involved throughout the lengthy process of getting our food from the field to our tables.
For me, the farm provides space to come to the end of myself and see the natural order designed to sustain life beyond my neighborhood. Beaches, mountains and campgrounds are frequented for this same dose of reality. Current circumstances are reviewed, gratitude is refreshed and priorities are renewed.
Nuggets of Truth
I remember that I am a tiny piece of a giant puzzle. I remember that just as the grass withers away and the flowers fade into the winter, my life is but a sliver of the story of this beautiful earth. I remember to not take myself too seriously. I remember that there is very little I can control. I remember that the images I see on social media are only images, not the real-life experience of smelling the fragrant trees while climbing a mountain or feeling the salty air on my face at the beach or looking for miles across the sprawling prairie that provides life for so many creatures.
Freedom to Be
We gain perspective about ourselves and the world when we observe the miraculous order of creation. It feels good to feel small. It feels empowering to release the weight of the world from my shoulders. It feels productive to labor within the limitations of my own design and not worry about circumstances out of my control. I am free to take responsibility for what is mine and leave the rest behind.