Jonah Lehrer offers useful observations in his article, "Mom Was Right: Go Outside." Scientists are outlining the benefits of spending time in natural settings. Lehrer writes:
Humans are quickly becoming an indoor species.
In part, this is a byproduct of
urbanization, as most people now live in big cities. Our increasing
reliance on technology is also driving the trend, with a recent study
concluding that American children between the ages of 8 and 18 currently
spend more than four hours a day interacting with technology.
As a result, there's no longer time for nature: From 2006 to 2010,
the percentage of young children regularly engaging in outdoor
recreation fell by roughly 15 percentage points.
This shift is occurring even as
scientists outline the mental benefits of spending time in natural
settings. According to the latest research, untamed landscapes have a
restorative effect, calming our frazzled nerves and refreshing the tired
cortex. After a brief exposure to the outdoors, people are more
creative, happier and better able to focus. If there were a pill that
delivered these same results, we'd all be popping it.
This is undoubtedly the most beautiful video of flowers "opening" that I've ever seen. The YouTube uploader of the video cited Ps. 98:1 - "Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things!" and John 1:3 - "All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." You can't view this video without thinking of God's transcendent glory and His delight in beauty.
"Mother Skylark" offers a quote from Barbara Kingsolver's Small Wonder that I find poignantly beautiful, one of the best pieces I can recall reading on the appreciation of the natural world.
"Let me back up and say that I am breathless with gratitude for the
collisions of choice and luck that have resulted in my being able to
work under the full-on gaze of mountains and animate beauty. It's a
privilege to live any part of one's life in proximity to nature. It is
a privilege, apparently, even to know that nature is out there at all.
In the summer of 1996 human habitation on earth made a subtle,
uncelebrated passage from being mostly rural to being mostly urban.
More than half of all humans now live in cities. The natural habitat of
our species, then, officially, is steel, pavement, streetlights,
architecture, and enterprise—the hominid agenda.
With all due
respect for the wondrous ways people have invented to amuse themselves
and one another on paved surfaces, I find that this exodus from the
land makes me unspeakably sad. I think of the children who will never
know, intuitively, that a flower is a plant's way of making love, or
what silence sounds