What Nature Can do for Creativity

A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature.
It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures
the depth of his own nature.
Henry David Thoreau, from the chapter “The Ponds” in Walden

There are few things more humbling than sleeping on the ground and shivering from the cold. But there are also few things more gratifying than laying in a tent at night and looking up at the stars and cuddling with your sweetheart to stay warm.

I took the weekend off to relax and regroup after I completed the first draft of my manuscript early Friday morning. Other than photography, one of my favorite ways to unwind is to spend time in nature. Combine the two and I’m in heaven.

Over the weekend I went camping with some of my family at a local lake. It was a fun time and, as is usually the case when I spend time outdoors, I came away with a clear picture of what I want from my life.

Even though my husband and I have downsized a lot over the past couple of years, even though we’ve slowed the pace of our life, even though we’ve made a lot of changes, I still want more.

Our lives are great now, so is it greedy to want “more”?

Sometimes I wonder if something may be wrong with me, because I crave simplicity like an addict needs a fix. (If you’re interested in the back story of our journey, check out the About page and read up on the posts I link to there.)

Whether it’s because there are fewer distractions competing for my attention or if it’s just some bit of magic, I don’t know, but when I’m in nature, time seems to slow down. The meaning of life seems so much clearer and laughter seems to flow a lot easier.

I think part of the reason I desire simplicity is because I have noticed a pattern: the simpler our lives are, the closer my husband and I become. That’s not to say that our lives aren’t simple now, or that I’m unhappy, but I often wonder if things could be pared down even further.

Maybe I’m naive, but whenever the two of us are camping out in nature, I always think why can’t our lives always be like this? Why can’t we stay this serene at home? Why couldn’t we live more simply and be happier?

My husband and I have talked for years about eventually making the move and living off the grid. I believe we will make this dream a reality, even if we don’t live a completely self-sufficient lifestyle. Even if we move to the country in a small house with a garden and some solar panels, I know achieving this portion of our dream will simplify our lives even further.

How simple living helps my writing:

As we have created simpler lives, I have had the opportunity to let my writing take center stage in my life. Living simpler has enabled me to have a lot more time.

We don’t have cable, so I don’t waste a portion of my writing time in front of the TV. We moved out of the city and into a more rural area, so I don’t have noise, traffic and other stimuli competing for my attention. We live in a small home that is easy to keep neat and tidy, so I don’t use a portion of my writing time cleaning a big, empty house.

I think the biggest way simple living has impacted my life is through thinking. Since we’ve slowed down, we’ve both taken the time to really pay attention to what goes on in our lives. As a writer, obviously the way I do this is to write about my life, both here on my blog and in my journal.

 

You’ve learned a little bit about my simple living journey, now I want to know about yours.

Do you live a simple life? Or are you working toward the goal of simple living? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below and, if you’re so inclined, feel free to share this blog post with your tribe  🙂

 

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