Sotheby’s link

Today I was speaking to my son Murdoch Matheson about how beautiful his Real Estate listings are. They are mostly country properties in the area of Charlottesville, VA and nearby counties. There is no place prettier than Virginia.

It is more than beauty. It is the spaciousness and clean, fresh air — the sights and sounds of the countryside, minus all the city noises equal calm. Of course, there are sounds around us when we are in the grassy fields or shady wooded areas of Virginia. The sounds are of birds. The cawing crows warn the other animals of a dangerous presence. Or perhaps it is the chatter of squirrels quarreling, the babbling of a brook, the mooing of cows, or crowing of a rooster. All these and more abound in the countryside. Of course, there may be farm equipment making a racket or skeet shooters causing a ruckus! The country is alive but in a different way than the busy city.

When I lived at Heathfield, in The Plains, VA, our overnight guests from the city sometimes complained of not being able to sleep because it was too quiet. Others complained because they heard horses neighing or the early morning rooster waking up the all the animals in the barnyard.

“According to preliminary results of a study by scientists at Exeter University, an area of the brain associated with being in a calm, meditative state lit up when people were shown pictures of rural settings. But images of urban environments resulted in a significant delay in reaction.”

Those who live in the city are under a constant barrage of negative signals of which they are unaware, consciously. The fight or flight reflexes are in a state of readiness hundreds of times a day. It is exhausting, and yet the people don’t understand why they are tired. The difference is huge. The impact on humanity becomes lethal in big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. It drives people beyond their limits of endurance.

When my brother lived in NYC, he used to come to stay with us in the bucolic Virginia countryside to get what he called a “green fix”.

“urban dwellers could be suffering in the same way as animals kept in captivity. The move to the cities had been accompanied by an “incredible rise in depression and behavioral abnormalities”.”


The moral of this story is find some green grass and go stand in it. Even better find a friend who lives in the country and has a guest room. Even Hospitals have learned that healing is enhanced when patients can walk or be wheeled into a garden at the facility they are where they are hospitalized. Or buy a plant and keep it healthy. Talk to it and care for it and reap the benefits of a living organism. I have to go now, because the sun is setting and I want to spend some time gazing at the beauty of the evening sky.

article about brains needing tranquility

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