Nature: Rich sensory experiences & connection to place

I once had a cat-friend whose brain had swelled up following an injury (hit by a car). He was blind for a while, and we kept him inside, in one room to make it easier for him. Most of the time, he was passive and only mildly responsive. When I took him outside, after a few days, on a leash, he became a whole different cat. He became alert, interested in his surrounding, and far more alive and active.

I wonder if that’s not how it is for all of us. We are all animals whose ancestors lived in nature. We are wired for nature. Our senses and nervous system are wired for nature.

As so many, I notice I feel more alive, alert, and content in nature. My senses come alive. I notice more of what’s happening around me.

I am happy to sit outside, under roof, and just enoy the rain with its sounds, sights, and smells, and how the humidity and breeze feels on my skin. The aliveness of it captures my interest as much as anything.

There is a lot more to this, and many have talked and written about it.

Being in nature reminds me that I am part of the Earth community. Right now, I am at the cabin, and I am very aware of being a guest here, and at the same time belonging to this community of plants, insects, animals, birds, and even the community of the soil, rocks, water, wind, clouds, and air.

There is also a simplicity to this life. The cabin doesn’t have electricity (apart from a small solar panel to charge my phone), running water, or anything else. The light is from the sun and sometimes candles and old oil lamps, the heat for food from gas containers, the heat for the cabin from wood stoves and a fireplace, the water from the lake, and so on.

My focus here is on taking care of my simple daily life needs, which are basic and universal. I get water. Cook some simple food. Make sure I am warm enough. Go to sleep when it gets dark and wake up (more or less) with the sun. I am far more in touch with my animal nature.

Occasionally, I do some maintenance of the cabin, which is something I can do since the technology is basic, simple, and intuitive. It’s a slice of the life generations of my ancestors lived. And it feels very good to know how things work here, and that I can repair and do maintenance as needed. It deepens my connection with this place.

Being here, in nature and a simple life focused on the basics, also allows me to meet my own experiences more intimately. It is a kind of reatreat, and it’s no coincidence that retreats often are held in this type of environment – with nature and days filled with simple tasks.

Over time, it allows my mind to settle a bit from the buzz of civilization and find a simplicity that mirrors the simple life here.

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