This Thanksgiving, I find my heart filled with gratitude for the beauty of the natural world around me.  I have always loved being in nature because it restores me and fills me up.  Yet, this year I am all too aware of how often I come to nature with a desire to receive.

  • I come to visit the ocean because I am sad, because I need rest or because I have a problem and am seeking an answer.
  • I come for walks in the woods because I am seeking inspiration, I am seeking to relieve stress, or am seeking solace.
  • I come to the edge of the river because I ache to remember what it feels like to be in the flow of life.
  • I take a chair out to sit under a tree because I need to be reminded of what it is to feel rooted in my life.
  • I watch the birds because I seek to know the kind of freedom they experience in being able to fly.
  • I reach out to pet a dog because it brings me comfort, warms my heart and creates a spark of joy and delight within me.
  • I often come to nature when I need to relax, when I need to unwind and when I need to release my stress.
  • I also come to nature when I need to celebrate and when a quiet joy lives within me and I need a silent witness to it.
  • I visit the flowers because of the wonder they evoke in me. I look upon their beauty and am reminded of what it is to blossom.

I often come to nature seeking.  Mostly, I have been coming to nature for guidance, for consolation, for nurturing, and for replenishment.

Over the past few years, I have been deeply aware that this is not enough in order to be in relationship with nature.  If I am to be a friend of the earth, I must come to her, not just with a seeking heart, but with an open heart that is ready to bestow my blessings upon her.

I am not sure what I can bring to the earth, except my heart, my thanksgiving and desire to do no harm.  I can bring my prayers and my blessings.  For any other gift that I might bring to the earth, was first given to me by the earth.  My gratitude comes in being ever mindful that there is nothing I can offer the earth that is not simply a returning to the earth a measure of the abundance that has been bestowed upon me.

If I am to be a true friend of the earth, I must pledge my love, my care and my protection to her.

I must intentionally walk on her surface with quiet gratitude and love in each step that I take.