Following Nature’s Tug

Wednesday was the first official day of summer, and with temperatures pushing 108 degrees in Arizona, most of us in the desert were seeking shelter indoors under the cool breeze of the central air conditioner.

What's your peaceful place?

While browsing Twitter at random points throughout the day, it was apparent that much of the country was also feeling the heat.

I sat down to write this blog, but this was one of those weeks when I struggled just trying to get the words from my head, to my fingers, and onto the screen of my computer. The one thing that kept coming to mind was my recent trip to Maine, and how centered and at peace I feel when I’m near the ocean.

I was not completely positive when I sat down and started writing this post what direction it would ultimately take. For anyone who knows me, this is something that normally doesn’t sit well me.

I’m a planner. I like things to be in order and to have a clear understanding of how things will fall into place before I start them.

My birthday is in a few weeks, and I fall under the sign of Cancer. One could probably argue that being a Cancer probably explains quite a lot about my personality, both good and bad. It might even explain my desire for things to be in order before I start, but we will save that discussion for another time.

Now, I’m not one who has ever lent much credence to astrology. I was raised in a Christian home, and to this day I still have what I consider a strong faith. But there is one thing I cannot deny, and that is the effect that the elements have on me.

As I mentioned earlier, I feel an overwhelming sense of peace when I am near the ocean.

I’ve also noticed that my mood is affected by the cycle of the moon. As the moon becomes full, I usually become quiet and quite introspective for a few days.

If you remember back to high school science, we learned about how the gravitational pull of the moon affects the tides on a daily basis and the tide level on a monthly basis. For me, it is not a far stretch to imagine it also has some effect on humans as well.

In addition to my affinity for the ocean, I also enjoy gardening and landscaping. There is something quite fulfilling about working with the organic elements of the earth to shape the environment to make it more beautiful and pleasing for those who occupy and utilize the space in question.

As a little boy, I can remember how much I enjoyed “playing in the dirt” and gardening on our family farm. When I close my eyes, I can still smell and feel the damp earth in my hands as I helped my dad plant our family garden.

I also remember the excitement and sense of wonder I felt as the seeds germinated and began to grow.

Little things at such a young age have such an impact on what shapes and molds us as we grow older, and those are some of the best memories I have when I think about my childhood and growing up.

Do you have a memory or place you visit when you feel like you need to find inner peace? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to leave a comment below, send me a tweet, or even an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great weekend!

Boyd Coleman is a landscape architect in Phoenix, Arizona. He can be reached on twitter at @CDGLA or email:


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2 comments on “Following Nature’s Tug

  1. Tim May on said:

    My favorite spot is less than a mile from the house. One can sit, listen to some Mozart on the iPod, watch the sun rise over the lake, and have the day get started on the right foot; all without the immediate hectic pace of the day influencing our creative and constructive processes…hopefully.

    I am convinced that the passionate landscape architects in today’s (and yesterday’s) world have a similar experience to yours. Their desire to steward the land and impact the lives of humans started at an early age. Mine began with camping, backpacking, scouting, and groundskeeping…and the passion continues today in some degree and fashion, even 30 years after achieving a graduating college. Believe you me, on a day-to-day basis having those morning sunrise rituals can certainly help keep the cynical, frustrating, tainted business experiences, learnings and dealings at bay when truly practicing this profession.

    Lastly Boyd, I am in complete agreement with your assessment of the moon cycle having an impact on humans. People’s actions are different when the moon is full (as it is when it is “new”), and that includes their crazy commuting habits during morning rush hour.

    Enjoyable article – thanks.

    • Boyd on said:

      Thanks Tim,

      I think you’re spot on about landscape architects and their desire to be good stewards of the land starting at an early age. We were having that discussion after our chapter ASLA meeting last week. Almost everyone in the room knew at an early age that they wanted to make a difference in some form or another and found landscape architecture along the way.

      P.S. Watch out for those commuters next week when the moon is full!

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