Greenitude: The sense of gratitude, well-being and joy that one feels walking in, being surrounded by and contemplating nature. It is a feeling of deep gratitude mixed with wonder at the incredible powers of nature to provide us with abundance. It is about feeling connected to the Earth, nature and this very moment. It is about knowing that in this very moment everything is OK.
I felt greenitude a couple of days ago as I took my early morning walk that I have done countless times before along the Nerang River. The path takes me to the edge of the river. In the stillness of the morning the reflections of the trees and sky blend to create a tranquil picture.
As the day begins to wake, the air is filled with the sound of birds chirping, twittering, and calling. I am surrounded by the flutter of birds as they fly past, their shadows tracing across the ground. I see cockatoos screeching loudly, Indian mynas arguing, a kookaburra about to begin a full hearty guffaw.
Below is a recording of the symphony of sounds that accompanied me while walking:
After 6 months away in Europe, the sight and sounds of the abundance of birds is incredible. Walking through much of Europe was like walking through a desert. It was quite sad to even walk through forests and fields and to not see or hear a bird. In France and Italy especially, I saw more bird hides set up for shooters than birds. The stillness was deafening.
This contrast in wildlife to Australia is astounding. In a short 45 minute walk around my neighbourhood I wrote a list of the birds I saw or heard. Here is the list:
Surfur Crested Cockatoos
With every bird that I saw or heard it filled my heart with great joy as I thought just how lucky I was to live in a place teeming with bird life. This wasn’t a particular special morning in the sense that there were more birds than usual. Other days I may see other species of birds such as pelicans, egrets, herons, and rosellas to name a few.
A day later, still in this state of greenitude, walking past the local high school I see a dead Brush Turkey on the pavement. I was equally filled with excitement as well as sadness. I had once seen two Brush Turkeys on the neighbour’s roof, but besides that, I had never seen them along my morning walk.
A few minutes later as I approached the river, in the corner of my eye I see a live Brush Turkey disappear into the shadows of the tree line.
My reaction was ‘wow!’. In 15 years living in this suburb I had never seen a Brush Turkey along this walk and today I see two!
The suburb I live in most people wouldn’t necessarily call a ‘desireable’ suburb. It is reputed to have one of the highest crime rates on the Gold Coast. Yet, I have never noticed it – I’ve always have had my head in the trees!
I have always felt gratitude living where I do, to wake up every morning and to be greeted by the sounds of birds. I sometimes lay there and think of tourists and how incredible it must feel if they were to wake up to nature’s surround sound in full stereo.
The section of riverbank that I walk along is part of a parkland. Along the riverbank the Council and local volunteers from Nerang Riverkeepers have lovingly removed noxious weeds and replanted with native vegetation.
Over the years I have enjoyed the fruit of their labour walking in the shade of trees and shrubs and have had the privilege to watch these vegetated areas grow.
Others no doubt feel the same as each morning I see familiar faces walking their dogs and taking in the beauty of the surroundings.
Greenitude is about being lost in the beauty of nature. It is about feeling an immense sense of gratitude and joy for the natural world.
My early morning walk through my suburb and along the riverbank becomes an exercise in thankfulness for the abundance and beauty that surrounds me.
I feel blessed to be able to live in an area that still has pockets of bushland, where native animals can live next to humans. I feel blessed to feel that child-like wonder that comes from stumbling upon wildlife that you thought no longer existed in your area. I feel blessed that I can be surrounded by such natural abundance.
Greenitude can strike at any moment. It is a reverence for nature and life. It can fill every cell of our body with an energy.
It might be triggered by walking in the shade of trees, watching a flock of corellas feeding in a tree like white fruit hanging off its branches. Sometimes, it may take something as simple as seeing a tree sapling growing in the crack in the pavement.
This reverence for nature can often open our hearts and minds to our surroundings so that we begin to notice more.
Greenitude can take us out of our minds and into our present moments. With every step we begin to see life differently. Our eyes may be open but all of a sudden so too becomes our hearts.
Greenitude can help us become more mindful in our daily lives. Greenitude can ground us. It can help us connect to the earth and we begin to question where we have been placing our attention and what in fact is really important to us.
Often, we will discover that the little things in each day is where magic lies. All of a sudden our days are filled with little blessings.
Green can open ourselves up to the seldom noticed and the unseen.
Whether it is the beginning or the end of the day for you, slow down for a moment to take in a deep breath. Close your eyes. Listen to the world around you. It is often in this silence that we begin to discover the beauty of being.
I find that spending time surrounded by nature is as necessary as breathing. I notice the times in the past that I would get ‘too busy’ and would soon feel stressed, tired, and overwhelmed.
Literally a ‘walk in the park’, whether it be walking in my local neighbourhood, or taking time out to walk along the beach or natural forests in the mountains would cure me of these emotions.
Just in the last few weeks I have walked along the beach, and strolled through forests on Mt Tamborine, Wollumbin and the Gold Coast hinterland.
Greenitude can earth us by connecting us to our heart.
As I pen these last words I am excited.
We have experienced a relentless hot spell over summer. The rain has started pouring down drumming on the roof, its rhythm lulling me into the present moment. The air is suddenly cool and refreshing. I can smell the bitumin and nectar from flowering eucalypts in the air. The rainbow lorikeets are madly chirping away celebrating the life giving waters.
Here’s a little audio recording of the rain and lorikeets:
As I sit here, I feel this sense of greenitude filling me with joy and presence. I am happy to be alive.