Urban green

I talk a lot these days about the healing properties of Creation. It might give the impression I am some sort of a “back to the Earth” disciple. Sadly I am not. I wish I was, I walk by those city properties in the North End of Halifax, with all the raised gardens on their front lawn, and I wish that was me. But it isn’t. I lack the patience, the skill, the curiosity about gardening, to do it right. I do NOT want to be one of those people who start something and never finish it. I need to attend to my passion, connect my sense of meaning to the goals I set.

I know I will never be able to inspire or move myself to spend time on my land, or other people’s land. You will not see me in the woods, in a rural landscape, in places far off the beaten trail. It’s not that I don’t value such places, rather it is that feel beyond my reach. I just don’t feel the pulse, the lifeblood, of some environments.

However, after years of city living I have come to a place where I need “green space” in my life and I feel the healing properties of the landscape when I walk in their midst. In particular I feel connected to the trees, all trees. I also feel connected to rocks and landscape. Sometimes, like this morning, when I am riding the bus early in the morning I can see the sun coming up, the horizon of trees, land, rocks (this is Halifax!) and I feel…healing, inspiration, connected. I don’t say that nature comforts me, nor do I find it jarring. Rather there is something deep about the ongoing connection of all Creation. It’s like humankind is the topsoil but the earth are the roots. I need to know there is something beyond the surface, something going on that I can’t touch but know is real.

I am not a “back to the land” person and worry people think me inauthentic when I constantly refer to Creation. I am an urban person, I enjoy the energy of the city, the vitality of crowds and space with animals and people and moving objects. I thrive off that energy, it brings out something powerful and positive in me. But to temper that, so that it is not too surface, I need something deeper, a connection to a reality that will last far beyond my limited existence. For reasons I have not yet figured out trees do this for me. I need trees. When I lived in the southern Prairies I did not miss the ocean (heresy!) but I did miss the trees, the thick and permanent trucks, the sturdy branches, the green life, the sway of the tree but the sense that the wind cannot uproot it, it has its own integrity and claim to the space.

My lack of patience is not likely going to permit me to spend more time getting to know and spend time with nature. But it is the oxygen I breathe, both literally and metaphorically. Being in and around Creation makes me whole. Urban parks like Point Pleasant and Central (NYC) good examples of how I feel sustained.

I think today is a good day and most of that feeling comes from that ride on the bus today, surrounded by the beauty and healing properties of landscape.