5 Reasons to Walk in Nature

 In 5 Ways to Art Archives
This is what I know: It’s a noisy world.

Cars, airplanes, helicopters, and leaf blowers… It’s a freakin’ noise-fest out there! Adding to that panoply are the insistent tweets and pings that distract us from even hearing ourselves. Hello? Am I even in here?

To be creative you need to find that treasured quiet – to mull and process and allow ideas to flow. You need to ponder whether the idea is any good and if it is, how to bring it to fruition. You need freedom from distraction.

For me, walking gets me that freedom – and walking in nature is my favorite way to find peace. It’s when I do my most creative thinking. And along the way, I get to be enveloped by the incredible beauty of our world.

I live on the edge of Washington, DC. My respite is the Potomac River. I guess I’ve been walking the C&O canal towpath for around 15 years. Every time I walk down the rocky path to the footbridge leading to the towpath below, I feel myself take a deep breath. It’s like I’ve been waiting to breathe since I was last there.


There are many wonderful reasons to walk in nature and many ways it enhances our creativity. Here are 5 of them…

5 Reasons To Walk in Nature:

1. It’s rejuvenating. There’s something about the motion of walking that’s renewing. We were built to walk, but, for many of us, modern life requires a lot of sitting. Walking lets our blood flow. Walking in nature lets our mind wander.The freedom we feel walking in nature is the same sense of freedom we need to create art. Walking replenishes our creative juices.

2. You get to inhale smells of the forest. When I was at the river this morning I was just about blown off-course by the pungent scents after all these rainy days. It’s gorgeousness for the olfactories. Relaxing yet invigorating. Remember how important smell is to memory? I think that we recall the past seasons through smells – winter snow, fall leaves, and now, spring, with the rains and flowers bursting through. Being creative is a full-body, full-sensory affair. The smells that enliven those memories awaken our creativity too.

Try this:

  • Close your eyes and breathe. A few deep breaths will allow you to relax and let go of all the craziness of life. Then you can really inhale the beauty.
3. It helps us make sense of life. Nature, like us, is in a constant state of flux. Clouds, blue skies, rain, new growth. Noticing these changes takes us away from our manmade world of light bulbs that sustain the day, and heaters that warm the cold. This is the natural world of growth and decay, shadows and light, the slow dimming of the day. It’s truth, and it helps us make sense of life, and death.
 4. It’s beautiful.  It’s a beautiful world, and sometimes we’re too busy to notice. When we go walk in nature it’s all there for us to take in – the meandering paths, the birds in flight, the sweet spring goslings.

And if you make art there, it will belong to you in completely different way.

Try this:

  • Draw! Bring some watercolors and see if you can paint how it feels to be there. Or draw what you see – even if you don’t replicate it exactly, you’ll know that place in a deeper way than you can in any other way.
  • Take pictures. Taking photos helps us see more clearly and notice more closely. Plus, you might get to take a photo of a frog conducting an orchestra.
Is it just me or does this guy look like a frog conducting an orchestra?

Is it just me or does this guy look like a frog conducting an orchestra?

5. You get to be alone with your thoughts. I love to walk alone. It’s lovely to be with someone else on a hike – truly, it is. But there is just nothing like being alone surrounded by nature. Sitting on a log, taking a moment to let thoughts settle, just being. Rain or shine it’s a gift.

Try this:

  • Close your eyes. Allow yourself to sink into the moment – this moment was never here before and never will come again. Notice the present.
  • Write. Take that little sketchbook and see what comes as you allow the words to flow. Say hello to you.
Thanks so much for reading. Where do you find your peace and quiet? I’d love to hear!

As always, if you’d like to talk about something in particular, post it in the comments or shoot me an email.

To all you are,

P.S. Here’s a little gift for reading all the way to the end…
All art/photos copyright Lauren Rader unless otherwise specified. All rights apply.
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