I have started watching National Parks: America’s Greatest Idea, by Ken Burns. The first episode is entitled “Scripture and Nature,” and I was surprised by the open references to religion and God while talking about nature. The writings of John Muir, who was a naturalist, traveler, scientist, and a deeply religious writer, are used often.
There was a historian in the film that said something to the effect of, “When you want to see God, you don’t enter a cathedral. You don’t open a book. You go to the mountaintop.” I believe Mormons can identify with that. There is something of God in the quiet solitude of nature, something that is often difficult to see when only focusing on one aspect of His creation—His children.
Often times while working on the ranch I can’t help but feel that people who do not take time to appreciate nature in their lives are missing something. Even if you do not believe in God, there is something about nature that lifts a little bit higher. Try being alone in a vast forest or at the foot of a mountain without being humbled. Take time to look at the majestic, then lay down at the foot of a tree and take time to see the finer details.
Because, as Muir wrote, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”