I love it.

I love natural beauty.  What I mean is the beauty found in nature.

Where I grew up in rural southeastern Ohio, our home was surrounded by woods with a creek (“crick”) running through it.  I spent endless hours in those woods, at that creek, my days filled with the sights, sounds, feel, and smell of nature.  And taste.  Yep, I liked to eat stuff I found in the woods – blackberries, wild anise, honeysuckle nectar, pawpaws (look it up!).    Another place we lived was a little house, literally in the middle of woods, surrounded by a large creek and three ponds.  I could walk 50 yards to a creek full of bass and panfish.  I regularly watched out our living room window as a great blue heron fished in the shallows of the ponds.  I went to sleep to the LOUD chorus of bullfrogs that lived right outside my bedroom window.

I suppose being exposed to the beauty of nature in my formative years developed an appreciation for it that has never gone away.  I still love it, and love every chance I get to be outdoors.

I love the creatures.  My mother, who lives with us, helps the Lord take care of the birds :). Her feeders draw them close, and they are so fun to watch.  Bugs fascinate me. The little boy in me has to stop and look at an interesting bug.  Here, check this out. Saw it while fishing a couple weeks ago. What in the world??? It’s as big as my thumb. So cool.  Right?

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Did somebody say fishing?  Of course I love the feel of a fish on the end of my line, and I sure love to eat freshly caught trout.  But honestly a lot of it is about the setting. I just love to be near, on, or in water.  I especially love the mountain streams and freestone rivers that trace through the northwest corner of South Carolina. The clear water, warm sun, slight breeze (or impending thunderstorm!), rock formations, wildlife, and of course the pink-striped rainbow trout, are almost intoxicating to me.  My mom (AKA Grandma Taylor) tells me there are ions in the air around oceans and rivers that are “good for you.”  I looked it up. Pretty sure she’s right.  That’s why I am refreshed and recharged there.

A stunning sunset will stop me in my tracks.  So will a cool-looking bug.  Or a lush bed of ferns, or a tiny  flower.

And in every case, my heart lifts heavenward.  I delight in the beauty, and I think of the Creator.  I worship Him.  And I often think of how good He is to not only make beauty, but make us with the capacity to appreciate it, to visually drink in the vista, to inhale the fragrance, to feel the sun, the breeze, the pelting rain.

A while back I heard a song that expresses this so well.  It has become a favorite.  May it become your heart’s cry as you enjoy and grow to love the beauty, outside, around us.