Travel: Happy Earth Day to You

I always forget how amazing it feels to connect to the beauty and wonder of our planet until I get outside for a bit, away from the stores and the cars and the people, and then I notice a bug or a leaf or a flower petal, and time comes to a sudden and crashing halt.

I believe that just as humans are wired for connection to each other, we are grounded by our connection to Earth. In honor of Earth Day, here are two pairs of photos from two of my favorite places, plus an audio clip of the howler monkeys doing what they do best, taken from above the treeline, atop Temple IV at Tikal, Guatemala (or, Jurassic Park, as I like to call it), while waiting for sunrise.

Arches National Park, Utah
Arches National Park, Utah
Entrance to Arches Nat'l Park, Utah
Entrance to Arches Nat’l Park, Utah


Yellowstone, Wyoming
Yellowstone Nat’l Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming







































Okay, one more thing. Here’s a portrait that my husband, photographer Francis Zera, took of Earth Day founder Denis Hayes for a magazine cover a few years back.

Denis Hayes photo by Francis Zera
Denis Hayes photo by Francis Zera










Happy Earth Day! Which places on this planet are the most grounding for you? 

Photo and video credits for this post: me, me, me, me, me, Francis.


  1. says

    Happy Earth Day to you too Laura! Thank you for reminding us ALL that an enormous part of a happy and content life is connecting to nature. I’m very fortunate to be able to walk every day through a local park and neighborhood that connects me…and we also spend time in the mountains and at the beach during the summer. I’d be absolutely nuts if I didn’t get outdoors and enjoy nature at least ONCE every single day. ~Kathy
    Kathy @ SMART Living recently posted…7 Traps We Use To Imprison Ourselves and How To Get FreeMy Profile

    • Laura Zera says

      It sounds like you have a lovely “daily path.” I consider myself fortunate because we’ve got a 1/2-acre property, very private, very green. I’m out in it at least a few minutes every day with the dog. It does make a big difference, doesn’t it?

  2. says

    Happy Earth Day Laura,
    The stunning diversity of the Earth is something no one should take for granted. As a self-professed flower child and lover of nature, I am in complete awe as I walk through the woods and experience the thousands of critters and plants found there, not to mention wind, clouds, air, and water.
    One time while hiking Great Smoky Mountain National Park, I stopped on the trail and sat down. In one small square foot of ground could be found lichens, flowers, mulch from past seasons, roly polies, ants, grubs, a passing butterfly, smells, dancing shadows from above, and a sweet breeze. And that’s an abbreviated list. I felt at that moment I could spend a year studying about all the life in front of my eyes.
    We spend far too much time indoors, ignoring the rhythm of nature. I truly believe that that can lead to our peril. Every day should be Earth Day, lest we forget how vital she is to our very existence.
    Thank you for letting me have my say!
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    • Laura Zera says

      And a good say it was, Josie! I love your description (and that it’s an abbreviated list!). Mother Nature is mind blowing, truly. And yes, if we just stop and watch for a bit, we’ll see how much we miss when we’re always in motion. Happy Earth Day!

  3. says

    Happy belated Earth Day Laura,

    It’s amazing how sometimes we just need to step back and breathe.

    I recently went to Morocco and it was wonderful to simply change pace, breath in the wonderful smells of a different country and be tantalized by the new sounds and colours.

    Now back in England, spring has finally sprung and it’s just wonderful.

    Happy Earth Day.

    • Laura Zera says

      Hi Caroline,
      Thank you! Your trip sounds fantastic — I’ve always wanted to go to Morocco. Smells, sounds, colors — that’s exactly it, the world is a feast. And now that I think about it, if we are present and aware of our natural surroundings, it brings on a gratitude that is sure to spill over into other parts of our lives.

      Best to you!

    • Laura Zera says

      HAAA! I love it. What fun started by gum!

      How cool that your hubby worked with Denis, and that must have been a great gig, with lots of interesting people attached to it.

  4. says

    Happy slightly belated Earth Day! Yellowstone is definitely at the top of my list. It will always be my home away from home. As I’ve been working on my national park short memoirs, I’ve been thinking about how much I want to return to all the parks I’ve been to in the past. Monument Valley is also at the top of my list. Matt and I took a trail ride to Tear Drop arch and the first thing our guide told us was that he would get arrested if he want off the reservation. It was an interesting ride ;)
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    • Laura Zera says

      Monument Valley looks amazing, too. There’s just something about red sand, red rocks, red dirt. It really does it for me, LOL!

      I can’t wait to read your park memoirs. And was that guide of yours wearing an ankle bracelet?

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