While growing up, I remember picturing myself leading a rather simple and cozy life. Perhaps a house on a beautiful farm, far away from the city, and close in the arms of nature. As life went on, I kept on trading my inner child to the devil – that is the ‘connected’ world. All the while being totally oblivious that I was, in fact, disconnecting myself from reality. So here’s a contemplative piece about my lost and found love affair with nature.
As life has it’s way, time paced and adult responsibilities took over. Soon I let the child within me slip away and quite entirely lost sight of my early life fancies. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that my childhood desire had formed into a deep sense of yearning. A yearning which had silently developed into a chronic sense of loss. The grown-up version of me was missing out on something terribly, but I didn’t know what!
One time I was beside myself. Overwhelmed, disoriented and even depressed, I was brimming with emptiness. As a customary compulsion, I took out my phone and started scrolling through random sites, looking for a bedtime read. And it happened to be by chance that I came across a rather peculiar phrase – “Nature Deficiency Syndrome” – it got me probing. Not willing to lose myself in spiraling sadness, I decided to regard my curiosity and clicked on.
“Nature Deficiency Syndrome” is an expression coined by Richard Louv in his book, ‘Last Child in the Woods’. The phrase in itself isn’t an actual condition but is rather an allegory to underline the gravity of the price that we as humans are paying by losing out on natural experiences. The writer posed a simple, yet deeply stirring question –
“What would our lives be like if our days and nights were as immersed in nature as they are in technology?”
As I delved further, I realized how our modern lives are tremendously out of sync with ‘nature.’ The current tech-driven world has us estranged from our primitive origins, our roots – the beautiful Mother Nature! And what we have received in return for containerizing our lives indoors is nothing but a string of physical and psychological ailments. Alarming health trends, rise in obesity, myopic vision, attention difficulties, and various other emotional, as well as physical illnesses, are gifts that tag along with the sedentary lifestyle that we have chosen.
Most of us are perhaps, at least in part, suffering from what Louv calls the “Nature Deficiency Syndrome.”
As I read along, Louv made a compelling case to reunite with nature – to enjoy, be amazed and in the process also to reinstate the lost relationship between people and the rest of the planet. By stepping out and actually getting your hands dirty and by engaging with the natural world, is perhaps the best and the only way to recover from your psychological wear and tear, he said.
Our well being is intrinsically tied to our interactions with the natural world. The child in me somewhere knew this all along. But it was only now that it was slowly dawning onto me. Louv emphasized on seeing us as a part of that wilderness and stop deliberately separating ourselves from it. I felt a warmth spreading through my chest – it was as if I was reuniting with my childhood longing.
Much like Louv I passionately believe that increased exposure to nature is a potent therapy to tackle modern era ailments and in fact acts as a powerful creativity stimulant. We ultimately have to remind ourselves that humans are only a small part of a larger creation, and it’s time we embrace our roots.
With each unappreciated birdsong, each overlooked flower, each droning butterfly that goes unnoticed, you and me both are inadvertently unplugging ourselves with mother nature.
Every time you chose to stay inside over that walk in the walk, you tread farther away from an abiding sense of what it truly means to be human.
Nature is in our blood and stepping outdoors is the only way to reignite this connection. I have learned the importance of taking time off and have discovered a newfound love for the natural world. I highly recommend that you get you ‘natural’ sync back too. So take that beautiful hiking trail or even just a stroll through a nice park and get your dose of nature fix today.
Don’t you just love this soulful piece by Vasudha? How about you share with us some of your meandering thoughts about going back to nature in your little way? Do share a thought here or email us at [email protected]