So many people have turned away from nature. Turned a blind eye to the overflowing landfills, the oil spills, the disappearing wondrous plants and animals, each one of a kind, each a special and critical link in the whole of life. Indigenous languages are being forgotten. The forests are disappearing.
We can not be separated from the natural World. Our bodies need to breathe the air, need to drink the water, need to eat the food that grows in the Earth.
Even in cities, where it feels as if man has overcome the need to be connected to the Earth, the pavement is still supported by the ground beneath; weeds and grass shoot up, relentless, from the cracks in the sidewalk.
In the city, people long to see beyond the next corner, beyond the houses, offices and factories. They long for the mountain-backed beach, with blue waters lapping on the crystal sands and the well-loved view from an island to the near mainland, a rolling patchwork laid out beyond.
In the city, people long to wake up to the whiteness of the first fall of snow, untouched yet by foot or tyre and to see the rich landscapes of lakes, trees and meadows.
But beyond all those sights, people need green; the bright green of spring shoots, the robust green of summer trees, the evergreen of forests but also just the green of wide open fields, the green that brings a breathing out of the city fumes and dust and a breathing in of clean, fresh untainted air.
Behind sites and sounds, people long for the warm, dusty scent of rain on summer ground, the dampness of leaf-strewn paths of late autumn and the first application of sunscreen, promising sunshine through the day ahead and signifying that they are beyond the worst of the short, dark, cold winter days.
People long to be touched by nature, by the rain on their faces as they head out into the open, to feel the air wafting in through an open window on warm summer nights, to feel sand beneath their feet as they run along a beach in the dark. They need to feel the rock as they clamber across a mountainside and sense the juddering of rough tracks as they cycle along forest paths.
And, yes, they need the feeling of their fingers and toes going numb while they stand in the frozen winter looking for wildlife. There is one touch of nature that goes beyond them all, the first caressing of a strengthening sun on bare skin as the clouds of winter float away.
Most of all, they yearn. They yearn for the wide open spaces, they yearn for the solitude of the distant and remote, away from the sense-buffeting town and city. Beyond all of this, they yearn for the wild.
The wilderness inspires feelings of awe … one’s intimate contact with this environment leads to thoughts about spiritual meaning.
An ache comes over them, deep in the back, yearning for all that is lost and all that needs to be reborn. They yearn for a pure nature, untouched by us, a wilderness that is rich and original, one that is as true now as it ever was.
The mountains, I become a part of it …
The herbs, the fir tree, I become a part of it.
The morning mists, the clouds, the gathering waters,
I become a part of it.
The wilderness, the dew drops, the pollen …
I become a part of it.