As I see it, summer is a great time to connect to creation and explore Franciscan values in nature. Dewitt Jones, photographer and speaker, explores seeing the ordinary as extraordinary. He indicates that we are all creative beings, but most of us never explore the opportunities right in front of us.
Dewitt Jones says, "... most of us simply don’t think of ourselves as being creative. For most of us, creativity is something difficult to define and even harder to implement."
I think that spending time in creation and connecting to nature can help each of us to explore a more creative side of ourselves. Some ways to do that include: sit on the ground at a park, sit with your back against a tree and observe, walk a path, hike a trail, play in the sand, explore the water, or sit on your porch and look up.
Take the opportunity to pray, meditate, discern, reflect, think, contemplate, or daydream!
Some writings to help you get started.
Nature is our partner in the truest sense of the word. The Earth, animals and plants do more than meet our daily physical needs; they are our spiritual brothers and sisters. They not only do the obvious, feed us and befriend us, but they also help us reach greater heights and understanding, health and spirituality.
Partnering with nature means understanding that nature reflects the ultimate creative compassionate force in the universe. Divinity is not of some other place but is found on Earth…in the gentle wind, the life-giving water, the animals, and the plants all around us.
Partnering with nature means opening up to an ongoing conversation, listening to and learning from everything, from the smallest living being to the Earth herself. We are not meant to exist in isolation as a species. The path we are meant to take is with all other life on Earth.
Partnering with nature means changing our underlying beliefs about our role in relation to nature and other living things. It means learning new ways of living and working by applying nature’s wisdom. It means learning to live closer to the rhythm of the Earth.
(Catrioni Macgregor, Partnering with Nature, The Wild Path in Reconnecting with the Earth)
God wills the interdependence of creatures. The sun and the moon, the cedar tree and the little flower, the eagle and the sparrow, the spectacle of their countless diversities and inequalities tell us that no creature is self-sufficient. Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other in the service of each other.
We are not disconnected from the rest of creatures, but joined in a splendid universal communion. As believers, we do not look at the world from without but from within, conscious of the bonds with which God has linked us to all beings. This awareness can inspire us to greater creativity and enthusiasm in resolving the world’s problems.
(Excerpts from the Encyclical by Pope Frances, Laudato Si::On Care for Our Common Home)
We have a duty to the earth on which we live. We are like farmers who inherited from our ancestors a great area of fertile land, a land which can either become fruitful with useful plants and trees that bring forth luscious food, beauty and life or it can go to waste and be filled with weeds and briars. If we care for this land, bless it and pray for it, as well as till it, seed and water it, it becomes a land of beauty and richness. And then it nourishes us in return. If we neglect this land, it becomes barren, unable to feed or nourish us with its beauty.
(Agnes Sanford, Creation Waits)