This past weekend we saw: A herd of bison; ten elk (give or take); five moose; two snakes; two foxes; a bald eagle; and a bear! Yes, that’s right, a real live bear, in the wild – 25 feet away!!! It was our most prolific wildlife count to date…. 

We jumped off rocks into mountain lakes, hiked deep into the forest, paddle boarded in the shadows of the Grand Teton, and all survived the Jackson Hole Lucky Charm bike trail (Jack did crash).  I think this was one of the best family trips we’ve ever had. 

The Japanese concept of shinrin yoku – forest bathing – teaches the importance of using nature to address mental and spiritual challenges. This weekend, we spent almost all of it outdoors, bathing in the beauty of this earth. And it was glorious!

My favorite moment was in the alpine meadow of Cascade Canyon. The crystal clear water flowed peacefully through the grass and trees – a perfect watering hole for thirsty animals. Finn, Claire, and I (those willing to continue hiking after seeing the bear) did a nature meditation – name five things you see, four things you hear, three things you touch, two things you smell, one thing you taste. I’m so grateful for that moment, hopefully finding a permanent spot in my memory.

Laurance Rockefeller, whose family was instrumental in the preservation of the Grand Teton National Park, made the following observation:

“In the midst of the complexities of modern life, with all its pressures, the spirit of man needs to refresh itself by communion with unspoiled nature. 

In such surroundings… we can achieve that kind of physical and spiritual renewal that comes alone from the under of the natural world.”

I think nature has the power to heal us, to make us feel whole again. Traveling with kids is exhausting, but so rewarding. We created memories that will pay dividends for life. We found the joy of living each moment together.

The author, Robert Louis Stevenson said:

“It is not so much for it’s beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”

I hope you have made the time this summer to get out into nature and feel the power that it has to renew the weary spirit. The world we see on our screens has the power to bring us down. The world we see with our eyes has the power to lift us up!

Rembrandt’s simple wisdom: “Choose only one master – Nature!”