“It seemed glorious sport to be feasting in that wild, free way in the virgin forest of an unexplored and uninhabited island, far from the haunts of men, and they said they never would return to civilization.” – The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
Nature changes the brain. It really does. Being in the moment for an extended period of time allows the noise inside a busy brain to dissipate. It allows us to focus on what’s right there in front of us- what really matters. In a personal world that can constantly feel as though it’s spiraling out of control, a world riddled with anxieties and fear, I turn to nature.
In nature, life seems more manageable. Problems are fewer. Conversations come easier. And the food always tastes better.
I hate when my friend’s grumble, “Uggggh, I don’t want to go back to real life.” What the hell is this “real life” you’re talking about? Aren’t we experiencing it now? Responsibilities are real, sure, but the way we emphasize their importance is all wrong. We are here now. Just shut up, smell the fresh air, and keep walking.
I have friends who warn me against climbing trees. “Don’t go climbing any trees while you’re out there, now..” my roommate’s words echo as I leave the house. “Okay!” I lie. I love climbing trees. It’s just one foot in front of the other, advancing farther from the earth with every step. To keep my hands from trembling I must reach cautiously for new branches and, naturally, I’m happy here.
Those errands, that meeting, that shift I picked up- none of it is any more important than the time I set aside for myself to live in the moment. And pretending it is has become too exhausting. Up in the tree the only thing that matters is not falling out. I can never have my fill of nature. Being in its midst makes me greedy for more but also less greedy for other things. Materialistically, I have everything I need. I have too much. As long as I am able to live wildly in the moment and appreciate all that I am given, I will be free.