I think it's a line from the first book of The Lord of the Rings in which Tom Bombadil mentions the healing and rejuvenating power of "the green smell" and the wonder and joy to be found in nature. The feeling around here these days is a perfect example of that. We had a blessedly comfortable Fourth of July with the air full of smoke and the scent of green growth. We had the nearly full moon on the left of our viewing area and a gathering storm on our right. The brightness of the moon, the lightning of the thunderhead and fireworks everywhere in between coupled with the surprising not-scorching heat made for a very pleasant and visually stimulating holiday. It's indicative of the recent weather and lush greenness of life in these hills lately. While my health has been less-than-perfect, to say the least, lately every time I step outside I feel myself immediately wrapped in a cocoon of green healing energy. The very air seems green and full of potential and while that doesn't solve any of my problems it gives me hope.
It never ceases to amaze me, this phenomena of trees and flowers and the wide open sky instantly lifting my spirits and inspiring me. I can be deep in an unpleasant, unhappy funk and one brief sighting of a crane flying past a brilliant sunset can put the silliest grin on my face. My spirits can be down in the dumps and just a few minutes of owl or whip-poor-will song has me smiling like an idiot. When I get so frantic and jittery that I can't sit still all it takes is a half-hour walk around our immense back yard with the dogs to calm me down and help me find my center. And if I ever find myself wondering why I don't feel as good as I should I just have to remember that, for some reason or another, I haven't communed with the moon for a while.
I hate the time of the new moon. I hate it when I can't speak with Luna. Don't get me wrong, I totally understand the phases of the moon and why we have to have three moonless nights a month. I'm not hating on the nature of the solar system. And I also recognize, with gusto, the significance and power of the moon in all her phases. I recognize and revere Hecate, and her magic, just as much as any other self-respecting witch. But I miss the moon so much when I can't see her. I hate cloudy nights and I hate new moon time for the same reason: I can't see her and I can't feel her anywhere near as keenly as I do when I can see her. Intellectually, I know that even though I cannot see her with my puny human eyes that she is still there. I know she is there during the day but the sun is too bright and won't allow me to see her. I know she is there when nighttime clouds obscure her. And I know she is there during her new phase. I know this. But it doesn't make it any easier.
I don't think I can explain rationally with facts and figures; it's entirely subjective. When it comes to the natural world I truly am a Missourian: I want you to show me! Or at least, when it comes to bird song, let me hear it for myself. I must smell it, feel it, experience it for myself or its meaningless. Okay, it's not meaningless. But without personal firsthand sensory experience I receive no direct and immediate benefit from it. When I can't see the moon, or be outside and smell the green smell, just knowing it's out there doesn't really mean much. It's like reading a nature magazine. It can be fascinating, it can be very educational and it can spurn me into action. It can broaden my horizons and lead me to new pursuits and new interests, but it doesn't heal my soul or my spirit. It doesn't lift me out of a foul mood and it doesn't inspire me. I guess what I'm saying is that learning about nature teaches my brain and that's all well and good. But being outside and experiencing nature through my own senses teaches my soul. And, for that, I will be eternally in awe.