We take a short walk in an urban park and are quickly spirited away to another time and another place — an era, only imagined, that possesses a surfeit of flora and fauna. Nature in all her beauty beckons. There is something compelling about the bugs, the birds, and the bees — a sprig of grass and the rustling of trees. In the beginning, the natural environment was the park that mankind came to. This longing to be reconnected is deeply embedded in each of us.
In contemporary society, many individuals claim that they prefer city living for its conveniences, access to schooling, medical care, etc. The Internet, however, is showing that we can live almost anywhere on the planet and still access most of these systems. Given that this is true, a curious time is upon our civilization. Whereas, historically, it was the disadvantaged who lived on the farm, soon it will only be the uneducated and the poor who reside in our crowded and polluted urban environments — think Lagos, Nigeria.
Those with the time and the means will escape to an environment more conducive to reflection and expanding good health. (1) This will, potentially, usher in a form of renaissance for all human beings. One of the major aspects of country living is its plethora of life — from the small and insignificant to the large and impressive. All will be for naught, nonetheless, if we fail to observe the world around us. If I only make myself the focus of the world, I will fail to realize that I am a part — yes, an integral part, but still only a part — of Gaia (2) herself.
One criticism of metropolitan living is its busyness. We seemingly have little time to truly stop and smell the roses, (3) so to speak. This blindness will only be carried over to our own plot of land if we fail to begin to focus on the world around us.
When viewing an ant trail you immediately notice that none of the small creatures look up to acknowledge you. They simply continue on their memory-induced path (4) My lack of importance holds a unique meaning. It suggests that, in reality, I am of little consequence in the world. That said, I do hold an enormous sway over me and the consciousness that I occupy. I am capable of changing my reality to the way that I desire, the way I see fit, given the constraints of the physical circumstances that I find myself in. As Viktor Frankl tells us “this is the last of the human freedoms to choose my attitude in any given set of circumstances.” (5) I can assist in this quest by going to the country and finding a quiet endroit in which to reflect.
A closing thought: My generation greatly romanticized going back to the land. (6) We were a part of a long legacy that viewed nature as providing the key to understanding Earth and our place in it. Given the environmental changes presently underway, this reality will soon dominate the daily lives of all human beings. The result will, undoubtedly, be a more positive approach to our natural world.
To sum up: This week, we spoke about returning to the natural environment.
To be noted: From Khalil Gibran (7) — Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Just for fun:
This week, on your thoughtful walk, please reflect on what travel has meant to your life.
Every day look for something magical and beautiful.
Don’t be a wage slave – critical thinking is great!
Quote: When you smell tilled soil, you sense immortality.