As the days get longer

There’s magic in the coming spring. We can sense the Earth preparing for the warming weather; the ground softening, the ice thawing, and the foliage preparing to bloom.

There are experiences that a human can lose touch with. Not many tend to a garden anymore or spend enough time in nature. It’s all work, fifty weeks a year, with hopefully two for vacation. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, but the average is about right there.

But right now, when life the Nation is facing a bit of a crisis, and nothing seems to make sense, it’s good to remember to make time. Make time for the experiences that we might miss if we just plow through the day.

The benefits of wilderness

“Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.”

– John Muir

The wild places are where we found the heart of humanity. Man was not born of the city, but rather of woods, and plains, and mountains. We expect so much from our modern life that it’s easy to overlook the simple pleasures of walking through the woods or tending your own garden.

As children, we knew the woods just up the street to be wilderness. We played in those trees, rummaged through the low underbrush, and identified insects, reptiles, and amphibians best we could. As we grow older, we stray off the sidewalk less and less.

This isn’t universal. In fact, there is a push for reentering nature the likes of which probably haven’t been seen since the sixties. People are in need of more wilderness if merely to combat that rampant modernization.

So it’s important to be outside. To forest bathe, or sit under the stars. Away from light pollution, and outside of walls. It’s where we found our heart once, and it can show us the way again.

Back to nature

When did we develop such hubris as to tame Nature? To say that we knew best for our wild Mother?

Don’t get me wrong. I love the conveniences of modernity. But knowing that all of these are mere constructs of our claim of superiority over Nature, I feel that we are in for a cruel surprise when the forces we think we know show us their full potential.

We humans are still so new. So inexperienced. And yet we walk around so certain of ourselves. With all we know, are we any more fulfilled than the wolf, or the boar, or the elk?

The thing is, it’s not enough to know facts – if for these facts we sacrifice our animalistic aspects. We are smart. We are clever. But we are not the Ultimate Power. If we were, we wouldn’t stay locked inside what we view as a protective place (home, office, car, etc.), ensuring only what we let in could pass the threshold.

No Ultimate Power has ever feared an intruder. Only those with delusions of power. And being delusional is seemingly a very human device. For the wolf knows it is a wolf. The boar, that it is a boar. And the elk, an elk.

To tap into one’s humanity is to release the ego – this inflated sense of self that man has come to identify with. I’ve heard time and again that facing one’s own mortality is what teaches us to be alive. What it means to be.

Until we let down these walls of sense, and reconnect with the wild, natural world, all we can be are pretenders.

The Natural Imperative

How are we programmed to act?

If one had never seen a murder, heard of a murder, knew of the concept of murder – could that person then commit a murder?

If we were to follow our true spiritual instincts, the yearnings we have, where would it lead us?

Some would inevitably be killers. Some would be abusive. But, I wonder, is it a natural imperative, or a product of upbringing? Nature vs. nurture.

What if, for instance, everyone made the effort to treat children, all children, like their own? All children, regardless of race, creed, nationality, sexuality, intelligence, emotional deficiencies, behavioral problems, disabilities. Imagine what that would do for the children, and likewise what it would do to all who interacted with those children.

Wouldn’t children grow up to respect the older generations? Wouldn’t older generations respect a little more?

Yet it doesn’t shine a light on what the natural imperative is. What’s engrained in our biology, and what’s programmed into us through teaching and upbringing.

What is our natural system, in the absence of power struggles and fear?

It’s something I’ve been thinking about, and will continue to think about.