When I ask people to describe their relationship with nature, they often say things like “I don’t get out there nearly enough” or “one of my favourite places in the world is in the mountains”
They are talking about Wild Nature.
Wild Nature is Nature in its raw form. Untouched and untrammelled by humans, truly wild places have a unique energy about them. They are aesthetically beautiful, soft on the senses, & filled with a diversity of living things in their natural habitats.
However, nature exists beyond Wild Nature. Nature is everywhere.
It is in our cities, our homes, our offices. It’s just harder to notice nature than in its Wild state.
Here are a some ways of noticing it, wherever you are.
I invite you to take a moment to notice your next breath.
Aaah… The air you just breathed is part of nature. It is the same air that smells so alive in a forest, the same air that lashes your face on a windy day.
Now pay attention to the solid ground beneath your feet. Perhaps it is a concrete floor, made of crushed rocks, limestone and water. Perhaps it is a tiled floor, made of clay that has been baked. Perhaps wood, directly milled from trees. Carpet, unless expensively woven from wool from an animal, might be fabricated from oil, drilled out of a hole in the ground.
All these things are of the Earth, and so are linked back through a series of man-made steps to nature.
Nature, as contrasted to Wild Nature, might then be considered as
“The dynamic systems of life; the processes in constant motion between energy and matter that pervade our universe”
When I think about my relationship with nature, I imagine a more diverse array of locations, circumstances and actions, than just imagining being in Wild Nature. I have found this distinction useful. It helps me become more conscious of my ongoing relationship with nature; seeing how nature shows up in all of the actions and choices I make, not just when I go into Wild nature.
It strengthens my awareness that I am part of this awesome living system of life on Earth.
So then, what is your relationship with nature?