My family and I just returned from a vacation in Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. Five days spent hiking, seeing wildlife and just driving through some amazing scenery reminded me just how much I love being outside.

            I come alive when I am surrounded by natural beauty: mountains and waterfalls and sub-alpine meadows thick with wildflowers. My soul is fed by nature, connected to the Creator by the creation.

            I grew up hiking and spending time in woods, on trails. Bringing my children into this environment brought me great joy.

My husband, who grew up sailing, rather than hiking, found the adjustment a bit trying. He was full of questions about things that seemed obvious to me. He was a little cranky at times, perhaps feeling out of his element.      

            At one point, I must admit, the family togetherness became a little suffocating. I became excessively impatient, and demanded a moment alone. “help,” I cried, standing in a restaurant parking lot. I looked up at mountains soaked in the colors of the setting sun. And God spoke to me, listening to my complaints and even providing words for my prayer: “I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.”

            God answered with an intense awareness of his presence, a reminder of his faithfulness, evoked in part by the view.

            I live where the world is flat, and not particularly beautiful. I absorbed mountain views as best I could, to last me until the next time.

 One thing was very clear to me after spending time in the wilderness. It feeds me in a way that nothing else does. Even living in the Midwest, my spiritual health requires spending time outside: gardening or walking or just sitting. I have an outdoor soul, and I need to nourish it by spending time in creation. Being out of doors inspires me to worshipping the God who came up with the idea of beauty in the first place.

So, what feeds your soul? What brings you into the presence of God? Where do you hear his voice most clearly?

I’d love to hear from you.

p.s. You can see more photos on my Facebook page.