I recently moved to the city of Chicago and it has been a “landscape shock” for me. I am surrounded by the bustle of traffic, crowds of people, and towering buildings. I am no longer surrounded by forests, flourishing gardens, and the vibrant sound of birds. I went from living in a small town of Geneva, IL to being tossed into the chaos of city life.
Since I moved I have struggled with mood swings and lack of sleep. Depression has affected me the most, causing my brain to feel foggy. Ups and downs of feeling trapped in my own skin, I was unhappy with how I looked and felt.
On a Sunday afternoon I was writing at my bed near the bedroom window and I looked up to see the glass building next door reflecting the sky, almost blending into the colors of soft white and blue. It was a moment of revelation, a simple connection that clicked within my being that told me nature Is where you choose to see it.
It was on that Sunday afternoon that I made a promise to myself that I would choose to see nature throughout my day. I began going on evening walks with my partner, having picnics in the local gardens, walking around the quiet parks, and visiting garden shops hidden in brick alley ways.
I began to find escape through spending time in the gym after work. It was a way for me to release any mental and physical tension I was holding onto during my day. It allowed me to express myself through movement, so that I could go up to my apartment with a sense of balance and mindfulness.
Through feeling more energized and a sense of being more awake, I was able to see art within the landscape that I roamed. I found sidewalks to be beautiful and flowers to tell a thousand tales. I was simply more aware that nature was an abstract art form within this forest of glass and metal.
It wasn’t that I never saw nature as art, but that I never thought of it in as abstract, I didn’t see colors in a sea of smoky grays and misty iron. My depression expressed that I wasn’t fully living, I was hushing some need to breathe.
I visit the lake at times, only a short walk from my place, an escape where I melt my thoughts into the shades of blues. I stand there breathing in the moist air, admiring the skeletons of building reflecting the blurred edge of water and sky.