Note Nature to Relieve Stress

by Charlotte D. Helgeson
(East Grand Forks, MN)

Fall Oak Tree by James Hawkins

I live at the meeting of two rivers. Our community has constructed a beautiful bike path/walking trail that I take advantage of as often as the weather allows.

Often I focus on my breathing, my speed or music. All of those focus points improve my spirit and relieve stress, but the most pleasant surprise as I put miles behind me is when I get distracted by nature.

Some of the large oak trees lining our rivers have survived numerous floods and have stories to tell. Grandparents, parents and children holding hands would have a difficult time encircling some of these majestic survivors.

My favorite tree looks like he twirled with the water as it covered its massive structure. His branches are as big around as my waist and they twist into the sky as if he circled to keep an eye on his dance partner. Nearby trees did not dance like he did and their branches reach straight into the sky or out to the side to find partners of their own.

As my imagination searches these beautiful trees, I am able to lose the anxiety I had from my work day. Their strength and survival gives me hope and security in my future whatever the world might have in store for me.

When I note nature, it takes an interest in me and I'm comforted.

Val's Response:

How lucky you are to have such a beautiful place to walk and de-stress. I would love to see a photo of your magnificent tree.

I love the imagery of the trees dancing and being shaped by the dance. Instead of resisting the waters, or being ambivalent to them, this tree twirled with the water and was shaped by it's flow. I think it's a perfect metaphor of life shapes us.

What a mindset shift we would have if we approached life, especially the hard times, as a dance. It would bring a feeling of ease and flow instead of struggle.

As difficult and unpleasant stressful times can be, they can shape us and our lives into something unique and magnificent if we let them, just like that tree was shaped by the waters.

Thanks for sharing, Charlotte.

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