I was one of the lucky ones. I had the good fortune of being introduced to the wonders of nature at an early age. Forming a close relationship that lasts even to this day. Although my visits have become long and in between the memories are fresh as the day they were born.
As a city boy born and raised, my first trip into the hidden realm of Mother Nature in the raw, was at first, a little scary. My brother and I were just young lads when dad first took us deep into the wilds of the Canadian North. A fishing trip with just him and his two sons. A Fathers bonding dream.
For us It was an adventure with dad, new and exciting as we drove deeper and deeper into the Canadian wilderness. A long drive taking us deep into the night. The cities, then towns began to disappear, leaving only thick forest encroaching ever closer towards the thinning roads we were traveling.
As the city lights disappeared altogether, the pitch black of night as nature originally intended shrouded everything in total darkness say for the eerie images caught flashing by in the high beam’s of our passing lights. As we pushed on through the silent darkness — questions started to arise. Dad are there Bears here? Will they attack us? Are there wolves? Poisonous snakes? Are their — Monsters?
WE WERE BORN HERE
We were born of nature, live out our lives in nature and give ourselves back to nature when we die. Our entire lives spent under its natural protecting dome. Surviving and flourishing as a species, as all species on this planet do from its life sustaining gifts of water, food and air, which without we could not exist.
Before the rise of our intruding concrete cities and the vast expanding asphalt highways and byways that connect them; we lived in the forests, in the deserts and on the plains in harmony with Mother Nature. Before we started bending and damning and polluting our waters, they ran free and clean under her guidance. Just as our air once did.
“At one time in the world, there were woods that no one owned” ― Cormac McCarthy,
Nature and humankind, in fact all living creatures, have forever been bonded since their inceptions. One part of the other, part of the whole. And Oh the beauty in her experience…
The plane touched down, first skimming lightly on the water before settling more firmly coasting along. Its two great pontoons keeping us on the surface as we taxied to shore. After unloading both us and our gear, it once again slowly lifted up in the air, defying gravity up and over the trees and then it was gone. This time with out us. When it disappeared both in sound and in sight — the silence was deafening. We were now completely alone with mother nature. We were now totally — in her world.
The air somehow felt fresher, cleaner and invigorating. Causing our appetites to soar and we ate like hungry bears just out of hibernation. As the sun went down, the soothing sounds of a thousand singing crickets and croaking frogs started their nightly symphony. Pierced on occasion by the call of a black-headed Loon. When the chorus of nature sounds faded with the onset of darkness, we slept like fallen logs only to rise again early at the break of dawn.
The nights on the water; a dome of stars over our heads so numerous you swore you were dreaming. A single shout from cupped hands would echo around and around the lake before returning stirring the Loons to reply with their own haunting echoed calls.
In the mornings, the mist off the lake rising like silvery fog that wouldn’t burn completely away till nearing the midday sun. From the shoreline overlooking the lake as the sun was rising there were streaks of violet, yellow and crimson, edging over the horizon announcing a new day. Mother Nature was opening her eyes!
BEING IN NATURE
Studies consistently show that there is a significant increase in people’s health and happiness in connection to nature. Frequent or long visits with nature can improve vitality and mood; benefit issues of mental well-being and reduce anxiety. Also helpful in restoring focus and attention and mental fatigue.
Yet more than that, feeling a part of nature has been shown to significantly correlate with life satisfaction: vitality, meaningfulness, happiness, mindfulness, and lower anxiety. Nature it seems, is its own cure. And the medicine is found within its wondrous moments…
The winds were strong that day out on the lake. And at times bone chilling cold! A little northern storm was passing by. We pulled up our collars, head down against the wind we rocked in the small boat with the waves beating in rhythm on its side. We were waited it out. And as fast as it had started, it ended! Almost at a snap of the fingers and then it was gone.
The waters calmed to glass and a ray of sunshine peaked through the clouds and glinted off the water. A rainbow was forming over the trees and — Oh so beautiful, so peaceful and still.
We were hushed into silence. Simply sitting there in our little boat, taking in the scene Mother Nature had so graciously provided. Suddenly a flash in the air right in front of us as an eagle skimmed the surface of the water and taloned-out a wriggling fish. It rose gracefully, sparkling water dripping from its prey, up, up into the air and in an instant — it was gone! Leaving silence and still waters, like it never even happened at all!
Nature had just provided us with that one special moment! That one moment that keeps us coming back over and over again. Coming back to her natural wild beauty in hopes of experiencing a moment, a memory, of the beauty that nature has to offer. And one that — only she can provide!
For most of our short existence, mankind and nature were one. Our very evolution a result. Is it no wonder that now, after most of us have forsaken her, abandoned our roots and turned our backs on her nurturing hands — that we feel whole once again upon our return.
In her presence, when all is still, when all is quite, a sense of peace and calm falls over you. Nothing clears the mind of its troubles, calms the invasive clutter of technology and the hustle and bustle of everyday societal life like a few days alone with mother nature.
And after a time you get a fleeting sense that THIS is how life is supposed to be. This is what life was like for the human race before the building of our overcrowded polluting cities and the ever intruding lifestyle that our new technologies have brought upon us. This is what being one with nature feels like.
And oh! — Why did we ever leave her?
THE WORD OF WAYNE
An important note: The more people who experience and connect with nature the more they’ll begin to care about their environment and value the positive impact it has on their own lives. As a result, the more they’ll want to protect it from destruction. Introducing our children to the wonders of nature may be mankind’s best bet of ensuring her protection in the future.
“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” ― Gary Snyder