Posts by Melissa Sostrin

Get Outside: Take A Bath

Your faith was strong but you needed proof

You saw her bathing on the roof

Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you

Leonard Cohen

No, not that kind of a bath. The Japanese kind- “Shinrin yoku,” or forest bathing. The movement originated in Japan as a response to the tech boom and b…

Get Outside - September 2023

I had a fan girl moment at Long Hunter State Park a few weeks ago. My friend and I went into the ranger station because she wanted to find souvenirs for some young women visiting from Israel. We chatted with the ranger about their Reading Ranger Story Trail blazed in 2016 (I described the …

Get Outside: Cedars of Lebanon

The righteous bloom like a date-palm; they thrive like a cedar in Lebanon;

Psalm 92

Cedars of Lebanon State Park in Wilson County is named for the eastern red cedar trees which reminded early settlers of the cedar trees mentioned dozens of times in the bible. The cedar trees which once t…

Get Outside: Nature Is A Cheap Date

Besides the mental, physical, and spiritual benefits of being out in nature there is the benefit to your wallet. Nature can be a very cheap date, and the over 99 miles of greenways in Nashville are certainly that. For the low, low cost of walking, biking, or driving to the nearest one you wi…

Get Outside: Finding Awe

Melissa Sostrin, r, as a child, participated in a unique nature program at summer camp. Photo courtesy of National Geographic.

I think I raised my sons right: on Mother’s Day one of them called and wished me a “Happy Hallmark holiday.” I know, I know, the holiday preceded the compan…

Get Outside: The Butterfly Project

But did you feel the butterfly in me Did you feel that my heart too is caged And fluttering and bound, and hoping for salvation And in the fringes of your coat is caught?”


Haim Nahman Bialik wrote this in a 1904 love poem titled “Tziporet” which is the old Talmudic word for butter…

Radnor Lake Part II-The Eaglets Have Landed

Baby eaglets just hatched at Radnor Lake.

The long wait is over. On day double chai-36 days after their eggs were laid- at least two eaglets have hatched. My two young charges, L and M, were with me two days before, and as we were heading to the aviary, we found Ranger Steve Ward on a tra…

Get Outside: Visit Radnor Lake State Park

Bald eagles nesting at Radnor Lake state park

When your child returns to school next fall, wouldn’t it be great if their “What I Did Over Summer Vacation” essay included “I helped maintain a bald eagle nesting area?” They can do that at Radnor Lake State Park which is a mere twe…

To be a Steward of the Earth, Live a Life of Radical Amazement

Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai said, “If, while holding a sapling in your hand you are told that the Messiah is about to arrive, first plant the sapling and then go out to receive the Messiah.” Much is written in the Torah and the Talmud about trees, and we read even more carefully about the…

Searching for Sunlight

If ye, in search for sunlight, found but void, Go, fashion it from nought,

Hew it from crags and quarry from the rocks, In cells of the heart be it sought.

Hayim Nachman Bialik

I sought sunlight at Hidden Lake twice in late November - once with my niece Kyla, a college freshman, the sec…

Jewish Tradition Teaches Us to Get Outside

Scene from Deerwood Arboretum and Nature Center

“Grant me the ability to be alone; may it be my custom to go outdoors each day among the trees and grass - among all growing things and there may I be alone, and enter into prayer, to talk with the One to whom I belong.”

While these word…