Finding presence in nature

The late poet John O’Donohue was fond of Blaise Pascal’s quote of always keeping something beautiful in your heart in times of difficulty. Life and loss process together, as do grief and beauty, and ‘if you can keep some kind of little contour that you can glimpse sideways at now and again, you can endure great bleakness’.

I stop now, so often, to look at a beautiful sky, to be still with the morning sunrise. I walk slowly amongst families of trees. David Whyte, poet, has said that one of the healing things about the natural world to human beings is that it’s just itself. Shakespeare told us that ‘the earth has music for those who listen’. But how often do we listen? And how many things do we look at without seeing?

It has taken me a long time to be present in the every day. To really listen, to really see. It is the beauty of nature, being just as it is, that saved me. It kept calling at me, persisting. Maybe it was you, trying to save me. To make me see all that is still beautiful, to find crucial symbols of hope. I understand now, how essential a sunrise is to me.

I’ve read that we can travel the world in search of beauty, but we must carry it within ourselves or we won’t ever find it. In difficult times, I’ve learnt just how important it is to carry something beautiful in your heart.  Because when I calm and quieten my mind, in the presence of all that nature gives to us, I can hear my heart. And I hear you.