Awareness of reality sometimes is just a matter of taking the time to observe our natural surroundings. And taking that time can bring us to see our important connections to nature, each other and to our inner selves.

How many times have we been walking down a busy street deep in your own thoughts, harried and looking down or talking loudly into our cell phone to someone or talking with a friend next to us preoccupied with the conversation and been totally unaware of our surroundings? We may even notice something that has changed but we ignore it otherwise. Since much of the world that we know is dominated by human beings who manipulate the environment or ignore its impact on us, we often miss the experience of the world of nature and its wildlife all around us. We don’t hear the sounds of the birds all around us singing to each other or the ducks or ospreys talk to one another. We don’t hear sounds of the rivers or Chesapeake Bay as we drive or walk by. We don’t even notice that the wind is picking up or moving through the leaves near our house when we water our flowers which can just seem like a chore to get finished before we get into our cars and fight the traffic to work.

We move into another reality when we surrender to a different meaning and sensation that nature offers to give us for free. Large areas of nature are preserved in our cities and national parks because of the magic we feel being in it but only when we take the time to drive there. It calls us back to a deeper, quieter part of ourselves and the wildness and beauty of our beginnings on earth. Next time you find yourselves in the presence of wildlife, be open and listen no matter how little time you may have. Teach a child how to do the same and cherish the gifts it gives you if even for a moment. The mental, physical, emotional and spiritual benefits to your life will build with each moment and we will find ourselves being more calm and connected with one another in a deeper and more meaningful way.

Mary Lee Zetter, LCSW-C Arundel Mind Body Institute