February 8, 2020
“Sometimes, the most productive thing that you can do is to step outside and do nothing…relax and enjoy nature.”
― Melanie Charlene, author
She loved the great indoors. That’s what a friend’s mother said she wanted in her obituary. We were seated with Leslie and her family, ten years ago or so, at a wedding reception in a local park. Someone shared in great detail why they loved being outdoors in nature. We all cracked up when Leslie piped in with, “When I die, please start my obituary with She Loved the Great Indoors.” As we chuckled, she assured us that she meant it. It was ten years later before I really understood what that might mean, besides the humor of it.
Fast forward a few years to when my friend called to say her mother had died. We shared many tears over the next few days, sprinkled with laughter. You see, Leslie was one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. I suddenly remembered what she had said at that wedding reception a few years prior. To my friend I said, “Remember, your mom said to include in her obit that she loved the great indoors.” Her daughter howled with laughter. Yep, it was in her mom’s obituary and again shared at her memorial gathering. Funny, yes, but in truth it was a stab at all of the people who, in their obits, professed to loving the great outdoors. I can relate.
Don’t get me wrong. I love where we live at Dream Acres because of the beauty of the land and landscapes. As much as I love being on the land, I also love the freedom to observe nature from the vantage point of our many windows. Do I have be to in the great outdoors in order to experience the brilliance, beauty and healing that Nature provides?
When I’m outdoors in Ireland and Scotland, I feel a renewed sense of aliveness. (A sense of “place” is a tenet of Celtic Spirituality.) I tell my tour groups, “Experience this site first, then take your photos later. Follow your inner guidance to a spot in nature that is calling to you. Be in that place as if you were gazing through the eyes of your heart. Go inward in order to experience was is outward.” Is this what Leslie subconsciously meant about loving the great indoors? Did she know that the secret to appreciating the outer world is to first be in touch with your inner world?
That new thought only occurred to me this morning as I sat gazing out of my office window. I’m enthralled by what I see. The landscape at Hidden Hills, in Oregon’s lush Yamhill Valley, begs me to notice, to watch, to reflect. How does the outer landscape mirror my own inner landscape? I am many layers. I am many colors and textures. I am the run-off stream from the recent heavy rains. I am the blue skies, the soft clouds, the whisper of the winds, the chirping birds. I am alive. I am awake. I am in the Great Indoors and, thanks to the Great Outdoors, I am restored to wholeness.