Wednesday 2 November 2011

Beauty and Bread by Tammy Durham

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. --John Muir

We spent a day a few weeks ago in Muir Woods on the Northern California coast. We arrived into the woods very early in the morning before almost all of the other visitors arrived. (It is always quite crowded with people.) Because we were so early, we were able to walk through this amazing stand of giant redwood trees dedicated to the amazing John Muir without any human sounds, other than our own footfalls.

During this time, I realized that this was something I have been missing in my life since we left our beloved Oregon coast to move to California for my husband’s job. In Oregon, we were surrounded by this amazing natural beauty all the time. We looked out on Devil’s Lake from our little apartment, and the ocean was a short half mile away.

Since moving, we have had to seek out beauty. It’s around, but we’re not right there in it. And I think that has had a very negative effect on my psyche. The move to California has been a difficult transition for me, and in moving, we (my husband and I both) have learned that Oregon is where we want to be, actually NEED to be. But, as we are currently NOT there, I need to find ways to feed my soul.

The time in Muir Woods was actually healing and energizing. I reveled in the silence, and it felt meditative. We saw three different bucks grazing around. It rained (which was definitely welcome!) and the sound of the drops falling through the trees, the light mist on our faces… made for a perfect experience.

And just a couple weeks later, we ventured to Yosemite National Park. It was another wonderful experience that fed our souls. There were quite a few people around, but it wasn’t over crowded, so we were able to take in all of the beauty. (It was another rainy day, oddly enough – perfect!)

So, though we don’t love where we live, we are finding ways to feed our souls as John Muir so elegantly put it. (And he was speaking of the places we’ve been able to visit!) As I’ve felt quite in a funk lately, this was such a needed revelation for me. My creativity and energy seem to be somewhat revved up following both of these adventures too! We are planning another early morning visit to Muir Woods next weekend!

Where do you find the beauty you need to go along with your bread? How do you feed your soul? Does communing in nature help you find your center and get back on track? How have you found ways to help yourself out of funks or blue places in life?

Tammy is an artist using many mediums to create and a web designer/editor by trade. She is the owner of Off-Center Studio.


  1. Thanks for the lovely reminder Tammy - nature is all around us, and sometimes we just need to make the time to look.

  2. Nature definitely feeds my soul and helps me feel re-centered. So does music. So does down time. So does writing. Getting out of funks or blue places--often it's just about time and taking things moment by moment. Asking myself, what do I really want or need right now? What would cheer me or re-center me in this moment, or today? How can I give that to myself right now?

  3. Long walks in nature for sure. And taking the time to enjoy the silence. Feeling the comfort within the silence in nature in particular. It is the best way I know to remind myself of the beauty and perfection that is all around us, but often difficult to see.

    All the best Tammy!