I Follow Rivers

Prompt #19: Some places have the power to make even the most die-hard agnostic reconsider their position. Have you ever been in a place where you felt more alive or more connected to nature, the universe, or a higher power than anywhere else?

“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.” –Stephen R. Covey

Feeling connected to nature, the universe, and higher powers comes very easily to me. As a child, we took many a nature walk, learning to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings — living in the Pacific Northwest with four strikingly different seasons, it wasn’t too hard to learn and every walk was an adventure. I suppose it’s not hard to be amazed by the beauty of nature as a child, but I’m thankful for my mom teaching us to appreciate the details of the forest, rivers, and mountains, the art in leaves and even the weather.

For a few years, we lived on what seemed like our very own river near Mt Rainier. Since my brother, sister and I weren’t in school yet, we spent most of our time exploring in the woods, rock-hopping across the river, building dams in the creeks, ‘raising’ tadpoles, building forts, finding natural ‘waterslides’ in the rocks of the river in summer and living the dream life in nature.

We even had names for different parts of the property. Names that still exist. During the holidays, one of my siblings might bring up “Maple Land” (a grove of maples we played in), and the conversation continues the same as if they had referenced Seattle or Olympic National Forest.
Fall leaves in Portland
I’ve spent most of my life in the country, and I’ll always be an outdoorsy country girl at my core, because nature is what keeps me calm and inspires me. While I love the frenetic pace of Tokyo and the bustle of Istanbul, give me a week in the city and I’m anxious to get back in nature. What I love about living in a little big city (Portland), is that it’s on a river (water is my thing), near both the ocean and the mountains, and has nature around every corner. I would still like to spend a year living in Barcelona or Istanbul or…, and give big BIG city living a try at some point though.

So anytime I’m in nature I feel alive and connected to the universe — whether I’m walking on Mt Tabor, enjoying my favorite spot on the Oregon coast, surfing in Australia, or hiking in Turkey. Of course some locations are more spectacular than others, but anytime I have a chance to catch my breath and experience a little quiet in nature I feel so alive yet peaceful.

Where do you feel most connected?

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