Today I am going to share another excerpt from my next book about gratitude. I love nature. I love being outside. There is something very relaxing, even if it’s in my own yard, about being outdoors. There is a renewal in nature. I am grateful I grew up in an area of the country where we were short distances from some of the most beautiful National Parks in the United States. We spent a lot of time in Zion National Park when I was a kid. I loved hiking in the Grand Canyon, and visiting the beautiful state parks that dot the area around Southern Utah are beautiful as well, Cedar Breaks and Red Cliffs to name a couple.

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Cedar Breaks

I now live in Alaska, and it is a stark difference from the desert I grew up in. But I have learned that there is beauty everywhere around me. When we think of an ideal setting in nature, somewhere we would love to spend time, we each have different locations we think of. Some think of sitting on a beach relaxing or maybe snorkeling or surfing. Others think of hiking through slot canyons and sandstone. Some people think of the forest and a hiking trail to the top of a mountain, or a refreshing lake. No matter where we go, there is beauty. So here are a couple of thoughts on the two places I have spent most of my life.

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I grew up in the desert southwest, in Southern Utah.  Not much water, it seemed like we were always having a drought and having to conserve water.  But the sage brush, I love the smell and color.  The rocks and mountains, I love the red and orange, sometimes yellow and even white rocks found in that area, along with the white trunks of the aspen, the green leaves in the summer, and where I lived, it snowed in the winter.  I loved every season.  It was amazing what would grow there as well.  We had a garden, as well as fruit trees, and my mom always has beautiful flowers around the house and yard.  There is so much inspiration and peace there.

Now I live in Alaska, and there is beauty.  Usually there is no worry about drought here, although we have had a few wildfires rip through our community in recent years.  The trees are green all summer, so many trees.  It rains regularly, and I don’t know if it’s from growing up in the desert or what, but I love the rain, I love the sound of rain, and I love the fresh smell of rain.  In the winter, the snow is always fresh (because it snows a lot).  When it gets really cold, the hoar frost is the most beautiful thing, it’s like God dumped glitter, the perfect amount everywhere, and it just glistens.  Looking out the windows during the day, there is always some sort of animal to see, whether it’s birds, fox, moose, on rare occasion a bear.  It is beautiful!

I love hiking, biking, and exploring the world around me.  Because of that I have had many experiences in nature that I am grateful for.  What is your favorite part of nature? Do you have a favorite National Park or place that you visited as a child? I would love to hear about some of your favorite places in nature in the comments.