We were thinking, on leaving, of friends and family on healing journeys, and the world, in need of healing: this is a prayer and offering for them.
I felt my pulse quicken and subside at the mere thought of getting out into nature, and knew the impact of the first real run through woods or glimpse of sunset would be more significant still.
Poets, naturalists and spiritual leaders going back to Buddha (and before) have understood the healing power of nature and it's glimpse into the divine infinite, and exhorted us to calm and heal our bodies, minds and spirits by taking it in.
Buddha said: "If you wish to know the divine, feel the wind on your face and the warm sun on your hand."
In his prolific writing on the natural world, Father of the National Parks System John Muir spoke about the call of the wild and it's transcendent beauty and healing power, saying: "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul" and "The mountains are calling and I must go".
Muir noted nature's pathway into both the universe and self, saying: "The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness", and "I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in."
But perhaps the final word on this should go to Henry David Thoreau, and his memorable passage in Walden: "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live sturdily and Spartan-like as to put rout to all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner and reduce it to its lowest terms."
So this is my prayer: that we will find ways to heal the world, and heal ourselves, by meeting it, wherever we are and in whatever condition; by cutting a broad swath and shaving close, by living deep and sucking out all of the marrow of life......