“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” - George Washington Carver
I don’t know about you, but trying to tune in each day is often a challenge in the midst of a busy life. And yet, when I do, oh, how wondrous the experience is.
As a mom it has been important for me to share my love of nature and the outdoors with my son, Parker. This sharing began for us at Camp Wightman on Billings Lake in rural southeast Connecticut. As a very young child, Parker had his first canoe trip, swimming and hiking experiences at camp. I held him on Infinity Rock watching brilliant sunsets. And while he doesn’t remember, he saw his first snake, fish, turtle, shooting stars, and rainbow there. Throughout the years, we have continued to return to camp to experience the awesomeness of God in nature.
Many of the other heart-stopping, God-filled moments Parker and I have shared have been in nature:
- A 30-mile bike trek enjoying the crisp fall air and the bright leaves blowing in the breeze.
- Kayaking across a lake and having a Bald Eagle swoop down just a foot away and scoop up a fish.
- While celebrating what would have been my grandparents’ 72nd wedding anniversary, a powerful rainstorm, followed by the brightest double rainbow we had ever seen. I believe it was God & my grandparents saying “We are here.”
- Mountain hiking on a beautiful fall day with the northwestern hills of Connecticut in a blaze of color.
- Watching the stunning sunset from the cliffs of Martha’s Vineyard.
- Snowshoeing in the Adirondack wilderness, sinking into the deep powder.
No matter what your child’s age there is always a way to reveal to them the majesty of God. Most communities have accessible open space and there are state and county parks. When you enter the world of nature with a child, they often see things you take for granted. Their wonder at ferns swaying in the breeze, a snake slithering through the leaves, an ant struggling with something twice its size, a hawk soaring in the sky, or a waterfall gently gliding over stones calls us to stop and focus on the beauty and power of creation.
Get outdoors on a clear night and look above you. Can you doubt as you gaze at the multitude of stars that there isn’t a Greater Being? At camp one of the most awe-inspiring activities is sleeping under the stars in an open field. God surrounds us in that massive space with billions of stars shining their light on us.
Even in our seemingly mundane neighborhoods we can find God’s splendor. Recently I was outside and heard extremely loud pecking. Looking around I saw the most regal bird I had ever seen. With excitement and awe I called Parker outside. We watched a sleek black bird with white spots and bold red crown (we later discovered it was a Pileated Woodpecker). Parker was so enthralled by its beauty he followed it around the neighborhood as it flew from tree to tree.
Human beings have always been drawn to the beauty and majesty of nature, but nature invites us to look deeper. God is shining in every sunset, flowing through every stream, floating in each cloud, twinkling in every star, and reflecting from the eyes of every animal. Take time to tune in and discover God’s creation.
How have you shared the majesty of God with your child(ren)? What does your family do to connect with nature? How do you tune in?
Joy Youngs, another real life Wightman Mom, is pleased to say that as Parker has grown older he has continued to share her love of nature and the out-of-doors, so much so that he hopes to make a career out of it. They are still adventuring together when life permits, and listening to the owls hoot into the night at Camp Wightman, the place where they have had countless occasions to tune in!
Thank you, Joy, for with this beautiful entry! For those wanting more information about sharing the joy and majesty of nature with your family at Camp Wightman and beyond, please check out our Partnering with Parents article, Outside? Me?! But there's dirt and bugs and stuff out there!