I grew up in a large metropolitan city and, while I have always had an affinity for nature, I have never really had an appreciative connection with it. I enjoy the feeling of grass beneath my feet, but I abhor insects, so I very rarely go barefoot outdoors. It would be accurate to state that I love the idea of nature, but not necessarily the reality. And that makes me a little bit sad – I truly would like to be able to set aside my city-bred aversion to mud and mosquitos, but I don’t quite know how.
This thought is what led me to register for the 30 Day Rewild Your Life Challenge, facilitated by the nature lovers at WeAreWildness.com. The concept of re-wilding is very simple, although it has the potential to be somewhat extreme: return as much as possible to living the way primitive man did, in order to reverse the detrimental effect that the modern, western way of living has had on the human condition. (The currently popular paleo diet is one example of the idea of rewilding .) Thankfully, this particular event is a bit less hardcore. The challenge invites participants to get out of doors for (at least) 30 minutes each day for thirty days, and consciously spend time in nature, fully engaged and completely free of electronic interference or distractions. (That’s right – no mp3 soundtrack, and no cellphone!) The idea at the heart of this is that the more we are in touch with the earth, the more we know her, the more deeply we will care about her health and her future. This, I can do.
I’m a week in, and my primary observations after immersing myself for brief periods daily in the natural world with all of my senses are these (and they are more spiritual than material):
- There is beauty everywhere around us. Everywhere.
- Via sights, sounds, scents, and sensations, nature provides us with a portal to Divinity (however we may each define that for ourselves).
- It may be the ultimate paradox that nature itself epitomizes transcendence.
I still don’t think I’ll be gaining an affectionate appreciation for bugs anytime soon, though.
How can you get back (or more deeply) in touch with nature? What insights are revealed to you through your own process of rewilding?
Well, this summer I learned the names of two of the wild plants found in our lawn–wild violets and white clover. Also–thanks to UUCG, and one of the Earth Day workshops–learned that ‘that five-lobed vine’ which keeps turning up all over the yard is in fact Virginia creeper.
Hey, you want to befriend someone–or at least to know them better–you learn their names, right?