"Study nature. Love nature. Stay close to nature. It will never fail you." --Frank Lloyd Wright

waterfall

Since I have been surviving cancer, I have really, really enjoyed visiting the gardens at the Dallas Arboretum. Whether I go with friends or by myself, I am filled with gratitude and peace while I am there. I consider my enjoyment of the gardens as one of the blessings of having cancer, because unfortunately, before being diagnosed with cancer, I never took the time to go.

In Dallas, we don’t have many lovely natural streams where a person can go sit and listen to the rushing water and feel at one with nature. But, at the arboretum, there are many water features where you can feel your anxieties ebb away, rushing downstream with the water! It is easy to forget we are in the middle of a city teeming with over 1.25 million people.

I see people sitting on the many scattered benches, surrounded by flora and water, reading or reflecting. I can’t help but spend time in gratitude for all of the good things in my life. Just the ability to visit the gardens, away from the stresses of life, fills me with peace and joy.

According to Psychology Today, there are many benefits to feeling grateful. I didn’t realize it until just now, but according to the magazine the emotion of gratefulness is currently a hot topic! The reason is that studies have shown that gratitude “can increase our well-being and happiness.” It is also said to increase energy levels, optimism and empathy.bird

No wonder why I love visiting the gardens so much! There are so many benefits, both emotional and physical.

My visits to the arboretum are never short ones! My husband went with me once. He was ready to leave after an hour or so. I’ve never encouraged him to go with me again! I’m just getting started on my journey after an hour!!

When I go, besides walking throughout the 66 acres, I am up and down taking pictures of all of the lovely flowers, the squirrels, and the birds and bees. I am able to get a lot of much-needed exercise while I am enjoying the beauty of the gardens. If it isn’t obvious by now, I am lover of all things nature!daisies

Some of the flowers are just full of bees. They are so busy collecting pollen that they don’t seem to notice that I am sticking a camera lens right in their midst!

Is it only me that finds yellow flowers cheerful? Well, I guess not! The bees like them, too! But how about you? I don’t know why, but I am drawn to yellow flowers. Somehow, they bring a smile to my face just by being there!

tulipsI love the gardens all of the time—in the winter, when much of the vegetation is dormant; in the spring, when everything is alive with color; in the fall when the gourds and pumpkins and mums take center stage; even in the hot, hot Texas summers when only the toughest species can survive. But I think my most favorite time of all is tulip time!

During the winter, volunteers and employees plant over 500,000 bulbs of over 100 kinds of flowers throughout the entire arboretum. The beds begin bursting with the color of many varieties of tulips, daffodils, Dutch irises and hyacinths, pansies, violas, poppies and thousands of other spring-blooming annuals and perennials in late February and that continue to wow visitors through April or so.tulips and daffodils

Spring is a time of renewal for many of us. It is for me. While I sometimes dread spring, because it takes us that much closer to summer—and I hate the heat of our summers—there is just something about spring that fills my soul with joy. Flowers bloom, trees bud, butterflies begin their tasks of pollinating, hummingbirds return, lawns turn green—all that was dormant finds life.

I am filled with hope. Hope for what is to come.

flowers2What about you? Do you feel the same joy that I do as life sprouts back into action as the temperatures warm and days lengthen?

Hating cancer, loving life,

Donna Fernandez Owner of blogspot, MyBattleWithLungCancer

Comment below and share with Donna what brings you hope and joy.