Opening Up to Nature

By , August 17, 2011

A reader named Joy recently commented on last year’s post about our homestead anniversary. Her request for advice on how to create a life similar to ours, and my reply, got me thinking on the subject, and led me to expand on it further here.

The most important part of the reply as far as I’m concerned, was my recommendation to not wait for the home(stead) of one’s dreams before beginning to live the lifestyle to the desire and extent possible. Jenna Woginrich provides the best example of that in her wonderful book. Further, though, if one longs to live in partnership with what I like to call “Big N Nature,” it’s all around us, available to be appreciated by us, and to nurture us, if we’re willing to let it.

This sort of thing has been on our minds lately, as Aly prepares to go to college. While her campus features acres of undeveloped forest land, and offers a fairly wild setting, it is adjacent to what is, to our lights at least, a fairly large city.

We look on her new life as being far more urban than the one we enjoy, so we tend to think of her as about to become less integrated with nature. However, we forget that even in the biggest cities, the wild creeps in. Wildlife, from songbirds to coyotes and deer encroach on the most urban landscapes. “Weeds” flourish to the point of becoming problematic. These creatures and plants are largely invisible to most urban dwellers, but to anyone open to seeing them, they’re quite visible.

I still strongly advocate getting out of the big cities to enjoy Nature more fully. Obviously, we would think that way. However, it’s trite but true that one can “bloom where one is planted.” After all, that’s what Nature is doing. If you’re a part of Nature, why can’t you?

You will find a version of the essay above, as well as writing on similar and related topics in Sacred Coffee: A “Homesteader’s” Paradigm by Mark A. Zeiger, available in print, eBook, and audiobook editions. The published version will likely be expanded, clarified, or updated from what you have just read.

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