Whenever my friend Jhikki comes back from her evening walk in a nearby park, she is extremely relaxed, ecstatic and glowing. She confesses that these sojourns are her way of remaining stress-free. Stress, almost an integral part of modern life, is partly a self-inflicted malady. We just don't give ourselves the much-needed break from the daily grind and enjoy the beautiful spread that nature has laid for us with all its splendour. It is by far the most effective way of tranquillising our mind.
Nature is forever presenting unforgettable sights through birds, animals, trees, springs, a medley of flowers, mountains etc. The spectacle of clouds, a rainbow, a starlit sky, the music of falling rain, the hopping and chirping of birds, the cuckoo's song, the rustle of leaves and the gushing of sea waves make a tense mind calm.
One just has to possess that discerning eye to enjoy scenic beauty. Whenever we get in close contact with nature, not only does it give us great pleasure when we are there, but even after a long time, it cheers us up upon being recalled. William Wordsworth, the legendary nature poet, could enjoy the sight of daffodils, ages after he had actually seen them, with the help of his 'inward eye'.
For oft when on my couch I lie,
In a vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye,
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
We don't have to spend a fortune to savour the bounties of nature. Another famous poet, John Milton, has rightly said that our mind can make a hell of heaven or heaven of hell. It is up to us to cultivate the habit of looking and appreciating what is being offered to us on a platter. One can visit the countryside, if possible, once in a while to relish its pollution-free atmosphere. The sight of sprawling fields full of various colours does give an onlooker a refreshing break. Going for walks in vast open spaces is also very relaxing. It is so fascinating to watch the sky at the time of sunset or dawn. The sight of birds flying back home at dusk is a treat to an observer's eyes.
It is not for nothing that poets such as Bhai Veer Singh, John Keats and Samuel Coleridge emphasised the significance of nature. In the present-day context, it is all the more relevant. Quite often, we tend to underestimate the capacity of seemingly trivial things which could have a soothing and long-lasting effect upon our mind. They can rejuvenate our frayed nerves like nothing else.
We must detach ourselves from this mechanical world at regular intervals to improve the quality of our life and be grateful to God for all the gifts He has bestowed upon us. It brings a unique glow on a person's whole being. We owe this much to ourselves. To quote Wordsworth again, Nature never did betray, The heart that loved her.