In Every Neighborhood There is a Naturehood.
I’m sitting in my car outside our church waiting for a meeting. There is a lovely bush alongside the white clapboard church. It has sweet little white flowers. I used to know the name of this bush – I have forgotten it. But I do still know, despite the noise of traffic and the hardness of asphalt and walls, and all the wires along the street, that this little bush is my “naturehood” in this neighborhood.
That’s a public service announcement from the US Forest Service, “In every neighborhood there is a ‘naturehood.’” (For such as this, I am happy to pay my taxes this week.)
From their website, Discovertheforest.org: “ More than 80 percent of Americans live in cities, but fortunately, families don’t have to leave the city to take their kids on an adventure to the forest. According to research done by Euro RSCG, 88 percent of children today say they like being in nature, and 79 percent wish they could spend more time there. Additionally, children who play outside have lower stress levels and more active imaginations, become fitter and leaner, develop stronger immune systems and are more likely to become environmentally conscious in the future.”
A struggling plant on the edge of the sidewalk. A towering tree in the back yard. For lucky me, still here in my car, the ocean is just a block away, and when I finish writing this I’m going to go look at the newborn baby harbor seals at Hopkins Marine Station Beach on Monterey Bay.
But we all have naturehoods closer that we think. A park, an open space, a stream or lake, some green or blue, all the amazing wildflowers this spring. They revive our souls, connect us deep to deep, invite us into the green and blue circle of life.
Bluetheology.com Our youth service trips and adult pilgrimages along Monterey Bay include a visit to the seals (and this month, babies) and much more of God’s ocean naturehood and how to steward it. Be in touch, still some openings for this summer. I post these devotionals on ocean stewardship and spirituality every Wednesday here and on Facebook.