The Land Knows You Even When You Are Lost

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I read a line from a book recently that really captured my imagination. The line was “the land knows you, even when you are lost.” Here’s why it caught my attention.

The French term en plein air describes the act of painting a landscape scene outdoors. Many Impressionist painters found their greatest inspiration outside, surrounded by nature. And while few of us paint like Renoir or Monet, there is something so restorative, so grounding, so resetting to the soul about moving an indoor activity outdoors.

Even something as simple as a picnic with family or a friend can completely change one’s point of view. This truth is captured so eloquently in a quote from botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Robin Wall Kimmerer. In her book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants she writes, “the land knows you, even when you are lost.”

When was the last time you stopped to look at the beauty of a flower, to smell its fragrance, to notice the butterflies and the bees buzzing around it? Or to lean up against a big tree and allow yourself to gently sway to its rhythm as it interacted with the wind? Or to get close to the ground to examine the cushiony emerald wonder of a patch of moss?

A young girl with blond hair stands in a field of yellow flowers wearing a dark blue dress and looks joyfully at something she holds in her hand. Nature's restorative properties are expressed in this phrase: "the land knows you, even when you are lost."

Reconnecting with our planet touches us in a way little else can. Kimmerer writes, “in some Native languages, the term for plants translates to ‘those who take care of us.’” She continues, “paying attention is a form of reciprocity with the living world, receiving the gifts with open eyes and open heart.” Who of us doesn’t need more of this type of gift right about now?

A mother, father, and young son enjoy a picnic outside in nature. Stepping outside can refresh us and make us feel "found" again, because the land knows you, even when you are lost.

As we near the end of summer, I invite you to throw some sandwiches and a thermos of tea in a bag and enjoy the quiet ministrations of our beautiful earth. Explore together and discuss what you find. Enjoy it with the people you care about.

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