Why does nature interest me so greatly? Perhaps it is genetic, perhaps it is the environment I was brought up in, perhaps it is a bit of both – whatever the reason, I have grown up to be primarily interested in nature rather than sports or engineering or quantum mechanics. This interest has a profound impact on many aspects of my life; it affects the books I read, the films and TV programmes I watch, the places I visit on holiday, the art I like, my writing and doodling, this very blog, even my personal morals as well as what I do in my spare time. So it is all very well to simply state that I like wildlife, which is no more than a fact, but it is another thing entirely to query what that interest means to me on an emotional, spiritual, or even subconscious level.
To try to understand this I must go back to my childhood; which from what I can recall was filled with wonderful holidays to the west country in the summer and the weekends during term-time were spent visiting National Trust properties, museums, or going on walks in the country. I definitely spent a lot of time outside, which no doubt had a huge impact on what my brain focused on in later years, as well as the way that I think and my positive attitude towards being outside. My mum went to a lot of effort to take me and my brother to many beautiful and interesting locations to give us a wide variety of experiences, because of this I find bug-hunts, walks, pond-dipping, rock-pooling and museums great fun and emotionally strong experiences thanks to nostalgic memories. It seems obvious to point this out but children automatically focus on what is at their eye-level, therefore if you place a child in a meadow they are faced with swaying flower heads covered in insects, but if you leave them indoors all they can see is the telly.
I have never been a sociable person, I have never been endowed with crowds of friends and you would be as likely to find me at a club or party as a pink elephant on the moon. Because of my introverted-ness I like to spend some of my time alone on long walks or bike rides in the country, where it is just me and nature. Some people would find this lonely, which is understandable, yet I quite enjoy this time alone – I can be absolutely silent and become enveloped in nature, in my surroundings, simply watching the birds or insects or taking note of all the plants I see. It is also rather therapeutic as I can think out my thoughts and process problems in my head in a neutral environment, alternatively I can forget the rest of my life and just focus on the immediate – like that ladybird crawling across a leaf. Landscape is something that interests me too, it is the inanimate part of nature that changes only infinitesimally such that we humans cannot comprehend. I like to spend time trying to understand the landscape around me; the lie of the land, the geology, which parts are eroding and which parts are accreting and how it would have looked hundreds of years ago. So in these ways nature contributes to my mental health, my peace of mind and general well-being.
Nature also affects me in a logical, scientific way; I can fill my mind with facts and figures and methods and identification details from books and television and personal experience. In this way it fills my waking mind, it gives my life a focus, a core around which I can revolve – swinging out from or drawing close to, depending on circumstances. I naturally have an inquisitive and absorbent mind so nature really fits the bill in that it offers endless questions and research – I will never know all there is to know, but I can at least spend my time finding out as much as possible.
On the flip-side nature means a lot to me spiritually; now that can mean a lot of things to a lot of people so it is difficult to define exactly. But what I know personally is that all of the resplendent, complex, intricate, remarkable and jaw-dropping organisms that fill this Earth were created by the same guy that sacrificed his son to save me – so every time I walk in nature I am reminded of Him and think that bloody hell he has one insane imagination to come up with all this! So yeah, that’s what my relationship with nature means to me, suffice to say it is deep and strong and keeps me alive with fire in my heart – a passion, which I think everyone needs and should have to keep them sane.
Do please share with me what nature means to you in the comments section below or let me know via the contact page.