Stillness is disrupted by hazardous steps on the matted, pine needle floor, discarded by the canopy overhead.
Murmering crickets pause at my passing, a wondering wombat in their midst.
Here, nature is both constant and temporary; welcoming and foreboding, alive and dead.
Another paradox exists: a desire to observe nature and a will to document, record and articulate it.
Nature evokes a staggering awareness of ‘the self’, so much so that my restless mind feels out of place.
In the past I have, admittedly, avoided time in nature because it fills me with existential thoughts – I don’t have to say, do, or be anything in nature.
No expectations or standards here, and this is incredibly disarming.
Nature asks nothing of me.
Humanity & Nature
The notion of The Sublime, was one explored extensively by Romanticists in the Victorian era; captured by the sentiment that nature is magnificent, filling us with awe and terror, in equal measure.
In Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor’s description of the blasted tree always stuck with me:
“I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak […] and so soon as the dazzling light vanished, the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump.”
In nature, we are forced to confront the wild condition, the ever-changing fragility of things. We are positioned in dualities of comfort and danger – a thorn in my foot, or a new scratch on my ankle.
Comfort & Risk
In modern society, we create for ourselves a supreme value of ultimate comfort, security and safety. In turn, closing off the destabilising nature of risk and the inevitability of change.
We can curate nature with a simple potted plant and refine the garden to our liking. We can make the wild thing more palatable and acceptable for human consumption.
But by entering the mountains, we can reach a level of awareness, freely provided, where we can decide whether we are satisfied with ourselves, the way we lead our lives, and our current path.
By sitting on a rock instead of a comfy sofa, the sharp, craggy edges prod and poke us into the realisation that we are in a constant state of being.
Life is constantly in motion, but it’s only at the moment of pause that we can reflect on the journey thus far.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article, I really appreciate your support.
This article was a little different to my previous ones, so do let me know what you thought in the comments section below.
If you weren’t previously, I hope you are now feeling inspired to venture into nature!