Gayle M Irwin

Composing Creative Conversations:
Writing Stories, Engaging Readers, and Encouraging Authors 

Writing from the Heart: Prose with Purpose – Part 2: The Importance of Nature and National Parks

Apr 19, 2022 by Gayle M Irwin
Photo credit: Unsplash

When I wrote Part 1 of Prose with Purpose, I highlighted Missing and Murdered Indigenous People, a subject that I’ve written about for upcoming publication. Since then, I’ve attended a human trafficking workshop where leaders alluded to trafficking conducted on Native American reservations. These are difficult subjects – human trafficking, MMIP – but topics that continually need to be brought to light, and ones I intend to continue writing about to help shed that light.

Another subject close to my heart for which I enjoy writing is a lighter subject: the importance of nature, and in particular, of national parks.

I began visiting America’s national parks as a child, camping with my family in places such as Yellowstone and Grand Teton. I once lived next door to Yellowstone in West Yellowstone, Montana. This year marks 150 years since the U.S. government set Yellowstone aside for protection as America’s (and the world’s) first national park. My husband and I celebrated my birthday last month with a weekend getaway to Yellowstone, traveling the only road open year-round in the park, the highway connecting Gardiner, Montana with Cooke City, Montana. We delighted seeing numerous bison, herds of elk, several bighorn sheep, incredible scenery, and many other sights in and around the park. Early spring in Yellowstone often still means snowstorms, but we were fortunate to experience beautiful weather in the 60s while there. Blue sky, sun, wildlife and wild places – an incredible way to spend one’s birthday!


Yellowstone became America's first national park in 1872 and the first such created wild place in the world. Nearly 4 million people visit this unique wild area every year. Photo credit: Gayle Irwin

I’ve composed a few articles that will publish later this spring about our family trek, and I’ve written stories in the past about the significance, and need for, national parks. You can read a story written for and published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Spirit of America via Google Books here:

My Pet Rescue Romance series is set near Yellowstone. The years I lived near the park inspired me to set my novels and novellas in the region, including areas of Montana and Wyoming. Setting plays an important role in books, and because I so enjoy Yellowstone, I decided this first book series would be set in that area.

My Pet Rescue Romance series is set near Yellowstone. All three of these stories are on sale through April 30, 2022 in e-book format for just .99 cents in honor of Yellowstone's 150th birthday. Available on various e-book platforms, like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

National parks allow us to connect with nature, and amid nature we find tranquility. Walking a forest trail, observing wildlife, sitting in a meadow of colorful wildflowers, enjoying a picnic near a stream, or waterfall, breathing clean air, fishing, canoeing, or simply sitting near a river ... all these activities take us to a place rarely visited – the place of peace. Famous American naturalist John Muir is quoted as saying, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

Hiking trails in national parks can be fun and great exercise. However, use caution around wildlife, such as these bull bison, that also enjoy sauntering along such walking areas. Photo credit: Gayle Irwin

I enjoy such experiences, and I enjoy writing about them and encouraging others to spend more time outside in the quiet of nature. Whether you can visit Yellowstone (or any other national park) or not, you can also find solace in nature. Perhaps a town park, nearby woods and hills, a farm, or even a city’s botanical gardens or your own back yard, spend time in nature throughout the various seasons, and you will observe, smell, and hear the many wonders that unfold: squirrels chattering, birds singing, flowers blooming, butterflies flitting. You can witness glorious sunrises and sunsets. Watch, listen to, and feel the ocean. Experience phenomenal views of rocks, geysers, caverns, and canyons. Listen to elk bugle in autumn or bison snorting and bellowing in summer. Smell fragrant fields of flowers or the sulphureous water of geysers.

No matter where you go in nature, beauty will envelope you and bring peace to your soul and a smile to your face.

Fields of wildflowers bring beauty to our senses, including sight and smell. Photo credit: Gayle Irwin

Many documentaries have been created about national parks and wild places. To unwind and destress, I encourage you to watch some of these programs. A new documentary on Netflix, Our Great National Parks, recently released about national parks of the world. My husband and I began watching a few nights ago and plan to continue viewing the series. Check it out here:

However and whenever you can, take time to refresh your spirit by spending time in nature and our national parks.

Trumpeter swans, once on the brink of extinction, bounced back in numbers thanks to protected wild places like Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. These beautiful birds can now often be sighted in western Wyoming, eastern Idaho, and southwestern Montana during the spring and summer months. Photo credit: Gayle Irwin