When I head outside, it’s often with an agenda. I’m hitting the trails to get a five-mile workout in, I’m headed to a particularly beautiful spot to shoot sunset or rolling out of bed at 5am for some turns in fresh powder. The best laid plans.
Sometimes, everything works out as I’d imagined, and other times the trail is a muddy mess, the clouds move in and the sunset fizzles or the slopes are icy. It’s easy to get frustrated when you don’t get what you wanted out of nature, when the question is, “what can I get out of Mother Earth?”
We all, in some way, ask this question. Some of us ask what we can give back to Mother Earth? A trail cleanup? A donation to an environmental charity? A caused shared on social media?
To appreciate something means to recognize it’s full worth. When all we ask if what can we get out of Mother Earth and what we can give back to her, we’re missing a very important question in recognizing her full worth.
What is Mother Earth Giving Us?
Nature has a mind of it’s own that doesn’t take our agendas into consideration. The mountain doesn’t care that you wanted a bluebird summit. The weather doesn’t care that you drove two hours for the perfect shot; but that doesn’t mean that nature isn’t giving you something.
When my plans fall through, when I’m presented with circumstances I didn’t plan for or particularly want, instead of getting frustrated, I try to look at it with a different lens.
Maybe the sunset I came to photograph is non-existent, but when I stop to look around, there’s so much more to the vista than I had originally noticed. There are wildflowers blooming at my feet and a bird watches me from a nearby tree. The breeze blows through the grasses and when I breathe in, it smells like sun-kissed pine trees. I didn’t get my shot, but Mother Earth gave me a beautiful moment of calm.
When the trail conditions aren’t ideal, when it’s freezing and the wind is buffeting my hair and I choose to grit my teeth and carry on, Mother Earth is teaching me perseverance and showing me an inner strength, I didn’t know I had.
When the weather moves in and conditions start to look dicey, when the summit is in view and the frustrating decision to turnaround has to be made, Mother Earth is teaching me discretion and reminding me of the value of my life.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through adventuring outdoors is to let go of my agenda and let what happens happen. When I force myself to take a deep breath when things don’t go as planned and look for the moments of beauty, of learning, of light, Mother Earth’s gifts start to show up all around me and I find myself truly recognizing her for her full worth.
I often appreciate the little moments of beauty and the lessons learned so much more than I would have appreciated making my summit or getting my shot. Nature is unpredictable and I believe that’s why we are ultimately drawn to it. You can cover a field in cement, but nature will find a way to grow through the cracks. Humans can’t harness nature, not truly. When we accept what she gives us and give back to her, we’re existing symbiotically, and that’s a beautiful thing.
Narrator: This blog was thoughtfully written my Mikaela Ruland. You can find her on Instagram @airundermyheels.