Sitting on a roof deck in Fingal over Easter head turned west after a magnificent sunset over the mountains. At the edge of my field of vision, just above my head suddenly an atmospheric phenomenon appears. A shiny ball of light streaking south-west, involuntarily I shout out – all heads turn. IT’S A METEOR! We are unused to seeing one so close, so low, so long suspended before our eyes – then it flashes from sight, disappears.
I am left breathless and my heart feels full, but also tingling. It’s respectful fear, known as awe. It reminds me of research from Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center – that experiencing the awe of nature is beneficial. It helps us gain perspective, to remember we are a small part of a bigger universe. A universe that can nurture and sustain us, just this week they sent me a link to a guided awe walk. Dacher Keltner talks us through a virtual tour of Muir Woods, named after John Muir.
I discovered the existence of John Muir last year when I was looking for beautiful quotes about how wonderful being in nature can feel. John Muir was a protector of forests, he saw them as places of sanctuary necessary for harmony. His life was filled with hiking, sleeping under the stars and transposing these experiences into his diaries.
“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” John Muir
Meteor: a small body of matter from outer space that enters the earth's atmosphere, becoming incandescent as a result of friction and appearing as a streak of light.