Yesterday evening, the moon was a perfect silver fingernail sliver setting over the foothills, chasing the setting sun. I was driving north watching the moon and kept joyfully catching glimpses at stoplights or any other opportunity.
This winter, my girls and I have developed an almost daily ritual around the moon as she* goes through her phases. We pause and sit on the front stoop when we come home from school and point out the gibbous moon. We turn out all the lights in the house and run to the window to watch the setting crescent moon. We go outside in pajama feet to see the rising full moon.
We also turn out all the lights in the morning and catch the changing of the light as the sun rises. A gift (albeit, one with pros and cons) of having small children is they often wake up before the crack of dawn. Around the winter solstice, my older daughter naturally and suddenly became interested in playing "dark," where we turn out all the house lights and sit in the dark, maybe lighting a candle or two. So we do this in the morning now and then - but letting the sunrise slowly light up the sky and our house. We lie on the floor in the living room and pretend we are camping, watching the sky change colors to the west. We run to the kitchen window and note the different colors of pink, yellow, and blue as the eastern sky lights up.
Nature connection can seem mysterious and out of reach in a way that does not serve us - that connection to nature means you feel special things, can tap into vague "energies" that only special people feel, or you have the skills to track a wild animal. The truth is far less glamorous but also far more accessible. Nature connection is turning off the lights in the house, slowing down, and noticing the beauty of the world. Full stop, it is that simple, and I promise you, also that profound. You just have to do it, and most of us think we are too busy - we are too entrenched in our routines of the human world.
The tragedy there is that then we loose a part of ourselves that is so deeply human. To know the colors of the sky as a new day begins. To know the phase of the moon and where and when it will rise and set. These are things that you can connect with, no matter where you live, no matter the weather, no matter your age. It is incremental, it is a small thing. And it slowly adds up, welcoming us back into the world that is our home.
*I've begun a practice of calling animals, plants, the moon, etc, by he / she / they. This is from a hunch that things we call "it," things we objectify, things we call "things" - feel disposable, not important, or less than (human). I want to use language that instead encourages myself and those around me to respect and build relationships with everything in the natural world.
Practice of the Week
Weekly practices in mindfulness, self-compassion, nature connection, and healthy relationship habits. Themes are personal growth, committed partnership, parenting, and greater connection with self and the earth.