Updated: Jun 17, 2020
‘I am not just one who knows this land, this land knows me.’
This has been one of my life revelations and the statement I use to explain my relationship with my lake and forest property. I am not just the one who knows every rock, every tree, every bush, every patch of soft, pillowy moss, but every rock, every tree, every bush and every patch of soft, pillowy moss knows my footprint, my essence, and my soul. It is the most comforting and beautiful feeling in the world to have the arms of Mother Nature around you, giving you the kind of love that makes you feel like kin, and you are, a child of her womb. Each and every one of us is part of nature. We are human beings, we are wired to live in harmony with nature and the natural world, and yet, we have evolved to beings who sit inside and on our devices for an average of 11 hours or more a day. This kind of living is not what we have been created to be, yet this is what we do even though this is not how we are instinctively hard-wired. We are beings who have evolved away from our roots. We no longer hunt or gather for our survival, amongst the wilds of our environment be it for meat, or for the fruits and berries. We no longer start a fire and spend our evenings sharing stories, we sit inside in front of a TV or some device. As we take a breath, we breath in oxygen which has been produced by our trees, and we exhale carbon dioxide that those trees require. We are in partnership and reliance with our natural habitat, and yet we choose to close our doors, stay inside, breathe recycled, recirculated, often stagnant air, and we breathe air that has been added to by off-gassing furniture and materials, and still, we expect to thrive and be healthy?
Stand in a rich evergreen forest, inhale deeply, what do you smell? You smell the freshness of the environment, the sap, the sweet scents from trees and bushes, the rich, pungent scent of the soil beneath your feet. You can sense the fresh dampness of the lake or a river nearby, and the salty scents if you are near to the sea. All of these unique and natural scents part of our planet’s world, and all of it joined to you as much as your feet are standing now on the surface of this planet. I find it fascinating that many of us who have spent years being so blessed to have been able to spend time in nature out in the forest, and often right from being children, have a different sense of connection to the natural world than most strictly city dwellers. And better yet, we never seem to lose that connection or feel that connection dim. I don’t take my outdoor experiences for granted. I, myself, still get excited beyond belief, and giddy in anticipation with the planning, packing and then physically arriving to my cabin each and every time. In the well over 55+ years I have come to my cabin I still get that incredible buildup of excitement for several days prior to getting to the cabin, and it’s every single time. When I leave my lake property and drive away from the cabin by boat to round that first point when I lose sight of my beloved cabin, I get an incredible sense of disappointment and loss that often hits me rather hard. I can even admit that in the prior several days before I have to leave my lake and come home, I start to feel that doom and gloom attitude creating in which often results in me shaking it off enough to put that extra effort into mindfully enjoying and savouring every last moment before we pack up and go. Once we are out of the boat and in the car driving down the highway, heading back to the city, I can look down and see my beautiful lake way below the winding road, starting to disappear as we pass the trees and the land and the water, and I inevitably get that second wave of loss. I catch myself secretly planning the next trip up to the lake. I have never taken my beautiful lake forest, cabin and land for granted, I know that, as tiny, and as raw, and as lacking it might be in amenities, I know my land is as rich as a any jewel, actually having more value than anything, it is a gold mine of nature, wildlife, sun, moon, stars, lapping waves, family laughter, personal reflection, peace, calm, serenity, belonging and reconnection to the natural world and the very essence of being a human being. It is also a place where I see and spend time with my people, those lake neighbours and friends that live and love the lake life as I do. We are all certainly kin. I do believe in the spirit and essence of the forest around me. I do feel the trees’ energy as I stand near one, and even more when I touch the rough gnarly bark and personally connect to the tree. I believe in the wisdom and power of the trees. After all, why would I not respect, honour and listen to the natural giants that bless me with the oxygen I require to breathe? Why would I not bless them and hold them sacred to my very well-being? There are days when I write and I create and I do not get the outdoor ‘fix’ I need. And you know, I pay the price. The only consolation is that I am rather blessed with a beautiful view out the front windows of my city home, (at least until I am forced to move because of redevelopment next year.) Having a fulfilling and rewarding view of nature is still, in itself, a blessing to your wellbeing. If you can’t get out into nature, at least take a break from your work or activity to look out, take your mind outside at least. I am a huge fan of taking photos. All my life I have been accused of ‘taking too many pictures’. Yes, back in the days you paid to develop them quantity was a consideration, but these days, the days of digital cameras and devices, you can snap away to your heart’s content, and erase or leave a photo sitting dormant on your device. I am constantly wanting to capture and preserve the beauty of the moment, (and I find many beautiful moments), and to preserve each inspiring subject I see.
Today I am writing not at my beautiful cabin, but in another spot on our incredible planet. I am visiting a friend, and I have asked my friend to go out for a walk along a scenic spot in his neck of the woods, on a walkway running along the dyke of the nearby local rushing river. There are the most amazing trees here, one species is the very tree that my lake property was named for, the Ponderosa Pine, (I have one very predominant pine on my property by my cabin.) Today, I am appreciating a selection of them with the most amazing bark designs and patterns. They are magnificent giants.
The flowers here, both wild plants, and people-planted are lovely this time of the year, early June, and although it is a cloudy and has been raining on and off, Mother Nature gave us a perfectly delightful dry spell with with which to get our ‘nature fix’. I feel so invigorated and refreshed from our walk, and I feel ‘filled up’ as we go back inside with the chilly afternoon drizzling weather, which interestingly started up the second we reached our car to return home. As we started to drive off Mother Nature threw me one last gift, I captured by photo two young male deer, one having a relaxing rest in the grass by an orchard, and the other, well, let’s just say ‘he was helping himself’ to the delicious nuggets of fruit and leaves from a nearby orchard tree. It seemed like the deer on the ground was the lazy ‘watch on guard’, with the other being the ‘thief’ stealing the snacks.
The rejuvenation and revitalization received by going out and being in nature transtorms into feelings of calm, relaxation, and satisfaction as I continue through my day. I, of course, always have the added benefit of that tiny smug feeling I get when I have managed to keep those new memories of my outing because I have taken some great pictures to savour and enjoy whenever I want and feel the need to. Just looking at them again down the road will gift me with another uplifting dose of joy and reconnection to the memories of this day to the miracle of communing with nature and spending time with a dear friend. I also feel the satisfaction by the ancestral part of my human being as I live today in the modern world, a re-correction, if you will, to the modern life I live in the city.