There is an ongoing discussion in nature-loving circles about our increasing disconnection from the natural world. With the rise of city living and screen culture, many sense an acute lack of nature and suggest solutions like family nature clubs to help us get back in touch.
I’ve enjoyed the conversation, but I don’t think it has addressed the heart of the matter —
You cannot be away from nature.
If you reframe this sadness of disconnection from nature as a longing for connection with the Earth herself, you simply cannot be apart.
You can think that you are. You can deny your essential connection, and refuse the relationship, but you cannot live on the Earth and be separate from her.
She is the essential support for our lives. Everything that makes up our lives originates from hers.
The Earth is the source of our food, air, water, clothes, shoes, furniture, cars, and even the cells of our bodies. Someone may take the Earth’s raw materials and process them to a point that they no longer seem like they come from her, but they still do.
From this perspective, any lack of nature we may be feeling is based on our own lack of attention.
And we can begin to resolve it by acknowledging the ever-presence of nature in our lives.
We may no longer gather our water from streams or pick our vegetables from the ground, but we can still remember that this is where they’ve come from. We can still be grateful for their presence in our lives.
And we can do this without leaving our homes.
You can say thank you all day long.
You don’t need to go hiking to recognize the Earth’s presence in your life. Though with this depth of connection, we may all be moved to put down our screens and step outside far more often.