Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology, psychiatry and education at the University of Rochester, says, “We’ve found nature brings out more social feelings, more value for community and close relationships. People are more caring when they’re around nature.” – a quote from MSNBC the other day.
Here is an unusual piece of nature in central Texas. It is a series of large granite domes erupting from the surrounding hills. Sometimes they are hot and terribly dry. Plants go dormant, animals hide. Sometimes they are damp, covered with puddles, each its own small ecosystem. I am attracted to the gargantuan boulders balanced on the faces of the domes.
People crawl on the rock faces like ants.
When the rains arrive, plants come alive and bloom.
This is a pastel painting of a cactus in bloom on the granite rock. I would wish that everyone, certainly every child, could know nature as beloved family. Would know what to step around and admire from a distance, what to touch and enjoy texturally, what needs tender care and careful handling. Could enjoy the smells and appreciate the enormity of the universe as seen in a dark night sky. Knowing the natural world intimately places our daily problems and complaints inside the larger view of time and space and provides perspective on human priorities.