The Need For Nature
Being, Not Doing
Being At Home
Loving What Is
Where God Is

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Do not worry about your life, about what you will eat or drink… Look at the birds: they do not sow seeds or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

Matthew 6:25


The most precious things of life are near at hand, without money and without price. Each of you has the whole wealth of the universe at your very door. All that I ever had, and still have, may be yours by stretching forth your hand and taking it.

John Burroughs

Many do fear the goodly mushrooms as poisonous damp weeds; but this doth in no way abate the exceeding excellence of God’s Providence, that out of grass and dew where nothing was, and only the little worm turned in his sport, came, as the shaking of bells, these delicate meats.


Which of these two is the wisest and happiest: he who labours without ceasing, and only obtains — and that with great trouble — enough to live on, or he who rests in comfort and finds all that he needs in the pleasure of hunting and fishing?

Micmac Indian to missionary, 1691

The Need For Nature

One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature shall not be broken.


Nature is not a place to visit, it is home.

Gary Snyder

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home, that wildness is a necessity, and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.

John Muir

Our minds, as well as our bodies, have a need of the out-of-doors. Our spirits too, need simple things, elemental things, the sun and wind and rain, moonlight and starlight, sunrise and mist and mossy forest trails, the perfume of dawn and the smell of fresh-turned earth and the ancient music of wind among trees.

Edwin Way Teale

We can never have enough of Nature.


In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.

Margaret Atwood

meadowA young woman came to me supposedly for relaxation and stress management. She was, in fact, suffering from the results of early childhood trauma, and we ended up spending considerable time working through that as we developed her theta brainwaves [i.e., access to the subconscious].

During the first session she told me she had never meditated. She was even unfamiliar with the word. I hooked her up to the EEG and took her on a guided fantasy. Almost immediately her beta reduced dramatically [the brainwaves associated with focus and anxiety], and her alpha, theta, and delta came out in a beautiful meditation pattern.

After the relaxation was over, I asked her if this was a new experience. She said, “Oh no! I feel this way all of the time when I sit in a field of flowers.”

Anna Wise

Sometimes a part of me gets lost
And I am all distraught
And can’t think why
My smallest undertaking goes amiss
And my day is spent feverishly
Doing things I had forgotten,
Redoing things I had done wrong,
While other things accumulate.
But if some errand should take me through the woods
All at once I know there is no hurry.
I sense the obscure, unhurried rhythm
Of growing things,
And I am whole again,
And go with quiet sureness to my work.

Faith Johnson

This pine wears her needles
In a healthy shimmer,
While a somewhat vacant fungus
Sits sipping, sharing, feeding,
Silently beneath the earth
Upon the tree’s umbilical roots
It is this mutualism
Nature’s balanced marriage
That sends the mushroom up like a flag.
The fruit that whispers, “All is well”
For the caretakers down below
Are steady at their work.
So we pack and say good-bye
To the mountains, trails and pines
Remember Russula mushroom caps
That mark your hurried path
As signals to check your hurried pace.
Reflect– take time– relive
These days from mid-October,
For they will feed us from within
And send a strength to help us
Shimmer like that stately pine.

Ann Yochem and Diana Wiseman

I go to the hills when my heart is lonely
I know I will hear what I've heard before

Rodgers and Hammerstein, "The Sound of Music"

There is a love of wild nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love ever showing itself, whether recognized or not, and however covered by cares and duties.

John Muir

viewKeep close to Nature's heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean… The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.

John Muir

The wheel of the law turns without pause
After the rain, good weather in the blink of an eye.
The universe throws off its muddy clothes.
For ten thousand miles the landscape
spreads out like a beautiful brocade.
Light breezes, smiling flowers.
High in the tree, among the sparkling leaves
all the birds sing at once.
People and animals rise up reborn.
What could be more natural?
After sorrow comes joy.

Ho Chi Minh

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.

Robert Louis Stevenson

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be, and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature.

Anne Frank

May it be my custom to go outdoors each day
Among the trees and grass, among all growing things
And there may I be alone, and enter into prayer, to talk with
the One to whom I belong.
May I express there everything in my heart.
And may all the foliage of the field, all grasses trees and plants
Awake at my coming, to send the powers of their life into
the words of my prayer
So that my prayer and speech are made whole
Through the life and spirit of all growing things

Reb Nachman of Bratslav

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.

Lord Byron

When we think that what we have been doing is too important for us to abandon it and sit by the lake, that is when we know that we desperately need to take the time off and sit by the lake.

Paxton Robey

Perhaps the truth depends upon a walk around the lake.

Wallace Stevens


Come ye yourselves apart
into a quiet place,
and rest a while.

Mark 6:31

Being, Not Doing

Who cares what they say? It's a nice way to live, just taking what Nature is willing to give.

Robert Frost

It is heaven itself to take what is given,
to see what is plain; what the sun lights up willingly;
for example — I think this
as I reach down, not to pick but merely to touch —
the suitability of the field for the daisies, and the
daisies for the field.

Mary Oliver

The value of these wild fruits is not in the mere possession or eating of them, but in the sight and enjoyment of them.


life is a garden,
not a road

we enter and exit
through the same gate

where we go matters less

than what we notice

Kurt Vonnegut

The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Our intention is to affirm this life; not to bring order out of chaos, nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply to wake up to the very life we’re living, which is so excellent once one gets one’s mind and desires out of the way and lets life act of its own accord.

John Cage

This is not a message about you or me or anyone getting anything. This is about the realisation that there’s nothing to get… that what has been sought has never been lost.

Tony Parsons

max patchI think over again my small adventures...
My fears, those small ones that seemed so big
For all the vital things I had to get and reach
And yet there is only one great thing
The only thing:
To live to see...
The great day that dawns
And the light that fills the world.

Inuit traditional

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “it’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

Mary Oliver

Early morning sunshine
Tell me all I need to know

The Allman Brothers, "Blue Sky"

Wasn't it clear from the start
Look, the sky is full of love

Sade, "Kiss of Life"

No human thing is of serious importance.


Life is too important to be taken seriously.

Oscar Wilde

Only this do I ask of God and this is what I pray: to gaze at the beauty of God and dwell in His presence.

Psalm 27:4

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.

John Muir

Even though we sometimes would not get a thing
We were happy with the joy the day would bring

Stevie Wonder

In summer, the song sings itself.

William Carlos Williams

Summer means promises fulfilled, objectives gained, hopes realized. The surge of doing and achieving, of watching and enjoying is finally replaced by a sense of quiet and floating and a certain fullness and repletion, as though one cannot absorb any more.

Sigurd F. Olsen

We have no more serious business today than watching the clouds drift by.

Edwin Way Teale


If we do not permit the Earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food either.

Joseph Wood Krutch

A person will be called to account on Judgment Day for every permissible thing he might have enjoyed but did not.

The Talmud

Tradition states that The Messiah will come if every Jew properly observes two consecutive Sabbaths.

The Talmud

Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife. The first question was, "Did you bring joy?" The second was, "Did you find joy?"

Leo Buscaglia

The true object of all human life is play.

G.K. Chesterton

When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

C.S. Lewis

Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.


I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.

Helen Keller

AlyshaIn this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.

Mother Teresa

This woman had the ability to transform a dinner into a kind of love affair, a love affair that made no distinction between bodily appetite and spiritual appetite.

Babette’s Feast

Being At Home

Nature comes home to one most when one is at home. The stranger and traveler finds her a stranger and traveler also.

John Burroughs

Every day I searched for the star
That never was in the sky
Now I see that star is on the earth

Stevie Wonder

The world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home.

Wendell Berry

To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition.

Samuel Johnson

All sickness is homesickness.

Dianne Connelly

Let there be a country with few people… They are happy with their food, pleased with their clothes, satisfied with their homes. Though the next village is so close you can hear cocks crowing and dogs barking, the people here grow old and die without ever feeling any desire to visit.

The Tao Te Ching

I prayed only for a small piece of land, a garden, an ever-flowing spring, and bit of woods.


Everyone is entitled to a home where the sun, the stars, open fields, giant trees, and smiling flowers are free to teach an undisturbed lesson of life.

Jens Jensen

No European who has tasted Savage Life can afterwards bear to live in our societies.

Benjamin Franklin

Some people have everything
Other people don’t
But everything don’t mean a thing
If it ain’t the thing you want

Charles Wright

An artist is never poor.

Babette’s Feast

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.

Thorton Wilder

If the only prayer you ever said in your entire life was thank you, that would be enough.

Meister Eckhart

Let not your life be wholly without an object, though it be only to ascertain the flavor of a cranberry; for it will not be only the quality of an insignificant berry that you will have tasted, but the flavor of your life to that extent, and it will be such a sauce as no wealth can buy.

Thoreau, Wild Fruits

Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, inciting at once to work and rest! Days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God. Nevermore, however weary, should one faint by the way who gains the blessings of one mountain day; whatever his fate, long life, short life, stormy or calm, he is rich forever.

John Muir

A disciple asked his master, “how can I enter Zen?” The master replied, “do you hear the mountain stream?”

Concentrating for a few minutes, the disciple could finally hear the faint murmur of moving water. “Yes!” he replied.

The master said, “enter Zen from there.”

A while later, the disciple asked, “what if I could not hear the stream?”

The master said, “enter Zen from there.”

adapted from Eckhart Tolle

You don't have to do any weeding of your experience... Whatever you are experiencing right now is your true love.


I could not so desire what was not my own, and what is our own we cannot lose.


Loving What Is

If one pine were placed in a town square, what admiration it would excite! Yet who is conscious of the pine-tree multitudes in the free woods, though open to everybody?

John Muir

That which is fully exposed to view is often most effectively hidden.

Harold J. Brodie

A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country.

Matthew 13:57

If dandelions were hard to grow, they would be most welcome on any lawn.

Andrew Mason

dandy and building

If weeds were rare as orchids
And as hard to germinate
We'd see them in a different light
And then appreciate

Someday on a barren planet
Man will land on metal steeds
And trade a golden mountain
For a patch of earthly weeds

author unknown

A weed is but an unloved flower.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

If you want to care for something, you call it a flower. If you want to kill something, you call it a weed.

Don Coyhis

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.

unknown (not A.A. Milne)

For the student of Zen, a weed is a treasure.

Shunryu Suzuki

The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.

Eden Phillpotts

Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.

John Muir

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.


The sun loves you... just as the rose
He never scorned you for a weed, he knows
The green-gold flies rest on you and are glad
It’s only cross old gardeners find you bad

Gertrude Hall

Keeping bamboo shoots
company, weeds
fresh green too


For naught so vile that on the earth doth live
But to the earth some special good doth give

William Shakespeare

A surprising feature of herbal research is that it is seldom the rare, exotic, and beautiful plant that proves the most interesting; more often it is some common, familiar, and despised weed that is discovered to have undreamed-of virtues.

Euell Gibbons

None can have a healthy love for flowers unless he loves the wild ones.

Forbes Watson

You will never love art well until you love what she mirrors better.

John Ruskin

It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to.... The feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures.

Vincent Van Gogh

God never made an ugly landscape. All that the sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.

John Muir

To a person uninstructed in natural history, his country or seaside stroll is a walk through a gallery filled with wonderful works of art, nine-tenths of which have their faces turned to the wall.

Thomas Huxley

The end of meditation or any spiritual effort is always a place of ordinariness, the realization that nothing ultimately is special. Intensely unique and powerfully meaningful, but not special. Understanding this helps us shed the anxiety, craving, or thirst of always thinking we should be somewhere else, or anything other than what we are.

P.T. Mistlberger

People consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk on water or in air, but to walk on the earth.

Thich Nhat Hanh

What is a bush in the hand worth?


Where God Is

Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God. But only he who sees takes off his shoes. The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

E. B. Browning

If I spent enough time with the tiniest creature, even a caterpillar, I would never have to prepare a sermon.

Meister Eckhart

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.

George Washington Carver

The Mind of the Universe is constantly speaking through all life and for the greater good of all life…

Life to those ancients was an all-inclusive kinship in which nothing was meaningless, nothing unimportant, and from which nothing could be excluded. They refused to make any separate barriers between mineral and vegetable, between vegetable and man, or between man and the great Primal Cause which animates and governs all things. Every living thing was seen as a partner in a universal enterprise…

Wherever I have traveled with inward good will, tolerance, consideration, a desire to cooperate, understanding, gentleness and appreciation, those qualities came back to me in outward profusion from all directions - even from creeping and crawling things supposedly to be deadly foes.

J. Allen Boone

For they who see Me everywhere and see everything in Me, I am never lost, nor are they ever lost to Me.

The Bhagavad Gita

All Nature's wildness tells the same story: the shocks and outbursts of earthquakes, volcanoes, geysers, roaring, thundering waves and floods, the silent uprush of sap in plants, storms of every sort, each and all, are the orderly, beauty-making love-beats of Nature's heart.

John Muir

Whatever you see, see it as God. There is nothing going on on this planet but God.

Paxton Robey

In Autobiography of a Yogi, the young Yogananda travels to an ashram in the Himalayas to seek enlightenment. Along the way, he comes to a shrine where people are bowing to a stone. He says to himself, “God should be sought only within the soul” and moves on.

As it gets dark, he asks a peasant for directions. These lead him in the opposite direction. Finally, he arrives, exhausted, at his new guru's doorstep. No sooner does he step inside than the sage asks, “where do you think God is?”

Flustered, the seeker replies, “Why, He is within me and everywhere.”

“Then why didn’t you bow to the Infinite at the shrine? Your pride earned you instructions from someone not bothered by the difference between right and left.”

There is nowhere that God is not.

Stan Kulama



It doesn’t have to be the blue iris
it could be weeds in a vacant lot
or a few small stones
just pay attention
then patch a few words together
and don’t try to make them elaborate
this isn’t a contest
but the doorway into thanks
and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

Mary Oliver

Sunny little blossom
On your slender stalk
How much you would teach us
If you could but talk

D. Batchellor, “The Daisy”

“O Tiger-lily,” said Alice, addressing herself to one that was waving gracefully about in the wind, `I wish you could talk!”

“We can talk,” said the Tiger-lily: `when there’s anybody worth talking to.”

Alice was so astonished that she could not speak for a minute: it quite seemed to take her breath away. At length, as the Tiger-lily only went on waving about, Alice spoke again, in a timid voice– almost in a whisper. “And can all the flowers talk?”

“As well as you can,” said the Tiger-lily. “And a great deal louder.”

“It isn’t manners for us to begin, you know,” said the Rose, “and I really was wondering when you’d speak.”

Lewis Carrol

Eileen Schaeffer

All flowers talk to me and so do hundreds of little living things in the woods. I learn what I know by watching and loving everything.

George Washington Carver

Believe one who knows: You will find something greater in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

When a traveller asked Wordsworth's servant to show him her master's study, she answered, "here is his library, but his study is out of doors."


The reality of truth cannot be caught in books. It has to be found from moment to moment, in the smile, in the tear, under the dead leaf, in the vagrant thought, in the fullness of love.


The poetry of earth is never dead.

John Keats

The longer I live and the more I read, the more certain I become that the real poems about spring aren’t written on paper. They are written in the back pasture and the near meadow, and they are issued in a new revised edition every April.

Hal Borland

I once asked my old Apache friend and teacher, Stalking Wolf, why he would not be cold in the winter or hot in the summer. His answer was, "I am both, but I am not bothered by them."

"Why?" I asked.

He looked for a long time at me, trying to decide, I feel, if I was ready to receive his answer, to accept what he was about tell me. Then he said, "Because they are real."

Tom Brown

Intelligence is not discernment and judgment or critical evaluation. Intelligence is the seeing of what is.


To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature… The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other, who has retained the spirit of infancy, even into the era of adulthood.


Nobody sees a flower, really – it is so small – we haven’t time, and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.

Georgia O’Keefe

More than anything, harvesting wild food satisfies a deep desire to connect with our roots and participate in Nature.

Sam Thayer

The world puts off its mask of vastness to its lover. It becomes small as one song, as one kiss of the eternal.

Rabindranath Tagore

It is no use trying to improve on children’s names for wildflowers.

Mary Austin

My only desire is an intimate infusion with nature, and the only fate I wish is to have worked and lived in harmony with her laws.

corinnaClaude Monet

The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man’s heart away from nature becomes hard. He knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to a lack of respect for humans too. So he kept his children close to nature’s softening influence.

Chief Luther Standing Bear

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

William Shakespeare



Much has been written about
The world and all its kind of loves
But the sweetest of them all
You seldom will find stories of

My love lives outside my window
Clouds burst to give water
So her love can grow
My love smiles to me each morning
Says she’ll never leave me
And I know it’s so

Stevie Wonder

There’s a love that’s divine
and it’s yours and it’s mine
Like the sun

Van Morrison

Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, “you owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that, it lights the whole world.


Oh, daisies, crowding all the fields,
And twinkling grass, and buds that grow,
Each glance you greet with smiles so sweet.
“And why?” “Ah, would you know?”
Their beauty to my heart, replied,
“For someone else we live,
And nothing in this world so wide
Is sweeter than to give!”

George Cooper, “The Reason Why”

The strangest thought came to me on this morning
As I awake to greet the coming dawn
The sun was hardly peaking through the garden
I felt that with everything I was one

Then I wished that I could come back as a flower
As a flower
To spread the sweetness of love

Stevie Wonder

We take care of our health, we lay up money, we make our roof tight and our clothing sufficient, but who provides wisely that he shall not be wanting the best property of all– friends?


The greatest gift is not found in a store nor under a tree but in the hearts of true friends.

Cindy Lew


This is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love: the more they give, the more they possess of that precious nourishing love from which flowers and children have their strength and which could help all human beings if they would take it without doubting.



When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego,
and when we escape
like squirrels in the cage of our personality
and get into the forest again, we shall shiver
with cold and fright.
But things will happen to us
so that we don't know ourselves.
Cool, unlying life will rush in,
and passion will make our
bodies taut with power.
We shall laugh, and
institutions will curl up
like burnt paper.

D. H. Lawrence

True belonging has no bunkers. We have to step out from behind the barricades of self-preservation and brave the wild.

Brené Brown

Why does a virtuous man take delight in landscapes? It is for these reasons: that in a rustic retreat he may nourish his own nature; that amid the carefree play of streams and rocks, he may take delight…

Guo Xi, 11th c.

Wilderness is a state of mind.

Roderick Nash

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.

Alan Alda

When I would recreate myself, I seek the darkest wood, the thickest and most interminable, and to the citizen, most dismal swamp… The wildwood covers the virgin mould, and the same soil is good for men and for trees.


I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown. For going out, I found, was really going in.

John Muir

We are tired of moving like zombies everyday, begging for scraps of happiness from our circumstances. We are tired of seeking love and feeling cheated. We are tired of seeking money and feeling poor. We are tired of living everyday in fear.

We finally realize that this is not how we are supposed to live… we know intuitively that we are meant to be “free” and playful. We know this because we are “it,” we are freedom itself. Seeking enlightenment is the pull of your nature towards itself.

End of Seeking

...there’s always the hermit in the forest to remind us that man is not his role, that he’s something deeper than that, and that the true end of man is to play the game of hide-and-seek for a while and to get lost in these roles, but then to return back to nature, back to the way of the forest, and… find out again who you really are.

Alan Watts