“In wildness is the preservation of the world.” Henry David Thoreau
What a gift! The wedding of a dear friend’s daughter brought me to a villa in Tuscany for a week. A book break was just what the doctor ordered. And so was the chance to take in the beauty of a place full of ancient trees and grass and gorgeous flowers. Being in the midst of all this loveliness reminded me how important it can be for all of us, especially as writers, to stop and smell the roses, both figuratively and literally.
Now that I’m back home, I see even more clearly the empowering strengths that taking time in our day to be out in the fresh air, feeling and observing. Here are a few of the benefits I’m finding most helpful:
Slowing down: Being in a place where the daily rhythms were more relaxed gave me a chance to slow down, breathe more deeply, and simply be instead of doing. Everywhere I went in Italy, I realized that the pace was different: People strolled and chatted enjoying their time together instead of rushing through it. When we slow down in this way, we see and appreciate more.
Unplugging: While I was away high in the green hills, the media bombardment we’re all subjected to simply faded away. There were no television screens and even the phone reception was spotty. I really didn’t miss all this and only realized after I came home how much more relaxed and rested I felt. What a relief! Having the space and time to let my own thoughts bubble up and paying attention to them was not just refreshing, it also gave me a creative boost. When we let go of all the media noise, we have a chance to hear ourselves think.
Seeing and sensing: Being among so much visual beauty gave me a chance to let my senses rove and ramble. Simply seeing the intense color all around me, watching a thunder storm and the lightning, smelling the hot, dusky earth and tasting a few fresh strawberries straight from the vine gave me a wonderful feeling of being more connected to my senses. I want to keep this alive and develop it more now that I’m back and bring it to my writing.
Trips like these are rare gifts and well worth savoring. Yet even in our daily rounds, we can take more time to experience nature in small, yet enlivening ways – through walks in the park, sitting beneath a tree and reading, smelling lemons and flowers, enjoying the sun and a warm breeze. All this not only reminds us that we’re alive, but also has the power to enliven our prose and make the experiences we create for our readers deeper and fuller. Write on!