Incitation: Many people try to reconnect with nature, but fall short of their ultimate goal of feeling the connection in their soul. Why does this disconnect exist in the first place and what is the solution to the problem?
Quiddity: The only way to reconnect with nature in the way that many of have been seeking to do, is to interconnect the relationship; that is, by being truly dependent on each other for nourishment of all kinds.
For the vast majority of the history of man and woman, we were in a tight and unbreakable connection with the environment (or nature as it’s many times used interchangeably). Yet something happened at sometime that brought us to here; where we’re now unable to reconnect and hold that connection with the natural world. Why is this that case? What happened that separated us from the rest of the animals on earth?
I’ll get to the point swiftly here: it was modern agriculture. Before agriculture, we were truly hunters and gatherers, never calling one particular place home because once we hunted the local animals and foraged for plant sustenance in the area, we needed to move on to another area to continue to survive.
Because of this lifestyle, we considered anywhere in the world our home. We depended on “Mother Earth” to provide for us and keep us alive. In turn, we worshipped her and treated her with respect.
Yet once we discovered agriculture, all of this changed. Very quickly, we were able to conquer the land and provide for ourselves – we didn’t need nature. We became the masters of our own environment, not depending on our Mother any more.
Being able to stay in the same place, we saw the advantages to not only cultivating the land, but manipulating the physical landscape for our own benefit.
Because agriculture was so efficient, an entire tribe was no longer needed to hunt or gather. People now had more leisure time and in turn, began to instead specialize in tool-making, house-building, the practice of medicine, and other specializations. They created the idea of trade (“I’ll make you this tool in exchange for some of your harvest.”). As a result, trade centers (cities) emerged as the center of commerce… et cetera, et cetera, and here we are: with cities and houses and super-niche jobs and refrigerators and iPhones.
Skipping the why’s and when’s and how’s of our cultural change to being “masters of our environment”, the ultimate question remains: If we yearn to reconnect with nature, how can we expect to accomplish this when we’re so far gone?
The one true answer is to be more interdependent on nature. To be interdependent means that when she’s suffering, we’re suffering and when she’s raining, we’re collecting rain for our gardens. It means that we can help make each other healthy; when we take care of her, she provides for us.
What I’m not suggesting is some sort of blind reverence to the “diety” of nature, but more of a call to creating a personal relationship manifesto of sorts – something that describes how this reconnected relationship is going to work; what we’re going to depend on nature for and how we’ll give back (thanks) as a result. Here is an example:
I will depend on my garden for much of my fresh foods and in turn, I will take care of the soil, by keeping it rich and fertile. I will be happy to call “home” those places into which I wander. I will not think of myself as a master of the land, free to do with it as I please, but rather as one of many important caretakers from generation to generation. I will commit to mend this relationship and leave it in better repair than I’ve found it. I will agree that nature does nothing by accident and look those creatures around me for guidance: I will plant in the spring, harvest in the summer, store in the fall, and sustain in the winter – and all the while I will play and enjoy my time here. I will slow down and when I take something from nature, I will be sure to give something just as valuable back to it.