Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases; if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into zoos or to extinction; if we pollute the last clear air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence...And so that never again can we have the chance to see ourselves...part of the environment of trees and rocks and soil, brother to the other animals, part of the natural world and competent to belong to it.
We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.
Almost every person who spoke to me about Sabbath said some time in nature is essential--it is singularly the most nourishing, healing Sabbath practice. One clergyman tells me, "When I spend any time at all in nature I open up, I rekindle a relationship with the natural world. I lose any sense of neediness, and the world opens herself to me. After a while, I feel there is nothing I am seeking, nothing I need." Leslie tells me that she and her husband always do something in nature--hike, go to the beach, anything that gets them outdoors. "We feel our bodies, the sensuality, we feel more grounded."
The Sabbath was born with the creation of the earth, so Sabbath time beats in intimate synchronicity with the rhythms of nature. Set aside a time, alone or with someone close to you, and walk, bike, sail, nap--anything that allows your body to be soothed by the enfolding nourishment of the earth. Spend as much time as possible in silence.