Nature is on our side
A Lifetime of Biophilia and Hortophilia Evidence
Oliver Sachs considered “Biophilia, the love of nature and living things an essential part of the human condition.” He also believed that Hortophilia, the desire to interact with, manage and tend nature, is embedded in our DNA. I’ve experienced it in my life and now have a new label and impetus for enjoying a scenic view and getting close to wildflowers.
- When my son was a toddler taking a walk around our small Naples island community was medicine for us both. He continuously stopped to look at bugs or flowers.
- Years later, he came home from school to announce that he was going out to look for spiders. Luckily, he never brought them in but especially loved studying suspended Argiope spiders and as a teen had a Rosey Haired Tarantula as a pet! Funny to think that hairy creature was calming but I witnessed the effect.
- Over the past few years, I’ve seen my partner come home harried from work and after spending an hour in his garden, emerge revived and relaxed.
- Every day I spend long hours in front of a monitor. Getting out into nature, fresh air, admiring a scenic view; just moving through and looking at the world is grounding and makes me feel human again.
Joshua Tree National Park
A scenic view of the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve
I’ve been asked if the first lady, Ladybird Johnson promoted planting Poppies in California for her beautification programs. She worked in Texas but didn’t plant the Poppies in California. They were first noted in the 1700s and became the State Flower in 1903. Spanish sailors named them La Sabanilla de San Pasqual (The altar-cloth of St. Pascal) after a revered shepherd who tended his flocks far from any church and communed with God by kneeling in fields of wildflowers. I was inspired to kneel too!
We arrived late in the afternoon and the poppies were already starting to close. Another name for the California Poppy is Dormidera, or sleepy one because they close up at night. I’ve picked them in my backyard and even with the lights on, the blossoms start to twist shut before dusk.
Tips for the Reserve
If you go entering the official Reserve costs $10 per car and it covers 1800 acres of the Antelope Buttes about 15 miles west of Lancaster. It has over seven miles of trails including a paved section for wheelchair access. The flower fields are protected with signs warning visitors to stay on the marked trails or risk being fined. On our way out we saw a small, crestfallen group getting a ticket from a Park Ranger.
Carrizo Plain National Monument
Our trek continued northwest towards Coast Highway 101. The well-paved road made maneuvering along the twisting route easy. Vegetation became greener, perhaps nourished by moist ocean air sweeping into the valleys, and Oak trees dotted the hills. In between Atascadero and Santa Margarita, we came over a pass to an incredible view. Fields of low yellow flowers flanked both sides of the highway. We joined other drivers and parked to admire the scenic view.
From there we faced a long drive north along Highway 101 to San Francisco but we made it in time for dinner. The next morning we were blessed with a sunny glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. All of it was food for the soul.
I know it’s not possible for everyone to get out into rolling hills of flowers but even opening a window can be therapeutic. For more about the benefits of getting out in nature check out this book, suggested by Tripwellgal follower, Alice Louise Karrow. The Green Cure details how going outdoors and spending time in nature, from forest bathing to a walk in the park, may provide a simple and powerful way to improve your health and well-being. Click on the book cover to find it on Amazon or use this link:The Green Cure: How shinrin-yoku, earthing, going outside, or simply opening a window can heal us
(Yes, it’s an affiliate link which helps me keep the blog going and will not add to your purchase cost. Thank you in advance.)
Have you enjoyed a scenic view full of wildflowers? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment and share.