‘Look at these tiny diamonds!’ Primed to notice beauty in our natural surroundings, we shared our delight in the glittering raindrops dispersed along the spiny needles of the Sheoak trees. We’d passed these Sheoaks every week, but the recent rain and sunshine had transformed them. As we walked amongst them, we wondered why the droplets stayed on those drooping needles, apparently defying gravity? And why were they so evenly spaced? A closer look showed the needles were notched along their length; and now we knew why! Each Wednesday, we walk familiar routes, but with the changing conditions, we continue to delight in new discoveries.
Child-like wonder stimulates joy and helps us to focus away from our problems in a healthy way. Sharing our observations with others lifts them too, connecting us positively. We utilise our senses to engage appreciatively with our surroundings. What do we see, hear, smell, touch and occasionally, taste, that brings delight? Appreciating our natural environment motivates us to care for it too.
Walking is great exercise and especially in nature. Even the effect of the greens and blues found there, cause us to relax. When busy minds relax, creativity returns. The air we breathe is fresh and oxygen-rich. The interdependent life around us inspires us to gain perspective on the crucial role of healthy, supportive relationships.
We encourage relationships of care. When a large group of varying abilities walks together, the distance between the leader and the last walkers increases. Hence, we pay attention to those behind us, watching they don’t miss the turns. We help each other through difficult areas. We accompany people so they don’t walk alone for long stretches, especially newcomers, unless that is their preference. We find that people who walk regularly in nature tend to be considerate people anyway. Maybe this isn’t a coincidence, but the result of becoming more in tune with nature, others and ourselves?
Lane Cove Community Chaplaincy offers three different walking groups, to encourage people to participate at their level and time availability. We’ve been offering walks for over seven years now and many people enjoy them. We warmly welcome newcomers, so check out the options on the Groups and Events page if you are interested. Alternatively, there is an excellent resource for local trails called Bushwalks around Lane Cove which will help you get started with family and friends. Plan to enjoy the many benefits of walking and wondering soon.
Wander often. Wonder always.
The articles here are currently written by Liam McKenna, Lane Cove Community Chaplain.