Lately I’ve been thinking and writing a lot about nature. I’m starting to wonder why. I do have kind of a “thing” about nature. Always have, I guess. For the first 12 years of my life I loved playing outdoors. One of my favorite haunts was a secret “cave” under a trinity of palm trees beside the back alley. I’d hide there under thick palmettos, savoring the shade and enjoying not being seen by the occasional passer-by.
Back then I had my favorite tree, a pecan in the front yard. Sometimes I’d straddle a large branch and pretend it was my horse. Or I’d shinny up the oak tree in the side yard and settle into a snug fork with a book and pocket-full of sliced apples and carrots. Or I’d climb the Japanese plum, rub off the furry stem end, savor the juicy fruit and see how far I could spit the seeds.
Yet I never spent much time thinking about nature and still usually don’t. I’m not formally involved in any green movements, although I support them by recycling and trying to reduce my carbon footprint. And about my only outdoor activities are an occasional hike or a bit of gardening when it’s not too hot. I used to ride my horse a couple times a week, but that was all about being with him, not about being in nature. And when my son’s golden retriever Bear lived with us, I walked him for an hour or so every day and enjoyed it. But I wouldn’t have been out there if he hadn’t made it a necessity.
I’ve never been one of those who has to go outside every day. Or who can’t stand to be cooped up in the house and needs to breathe fresh air. Who longs to feel the sun on my face or needs a lot of light. Or gets restless if I stay indoors too long. In fact, most days I’d much rather be inside writing at my computer. This is probably related to the fact that I’m so oriented to my inner world that I forget about my body and outer world phenomena. Yet, I do notice sometimes. And more these days than usual. So where is this new level of awareness of nature coming from?
Actually, it’s not that new. I’ve felt it coming on for years, but at such a low level of consciousness that I can go for weeks without noticing it. What’s different now is that I think about and am attracted to nature more frequently and compellingly. And when I’m outside I notice that I feel better somehow, as if something “out there” is deeply satisfying to a deeply unconscious something “in here”…a part of me that’s been trying to get my attention for a very long time. The same part that feels a deep affinity for winding forest paths under a sheltering canopy of trees, that loves to be outdoors at night, that gets excited when I see a full moon emerge from behind the trees and cast her silvery path across the lake.
What is this part of me, and why is it getting my attention now? I think it’s my soul: the physical, instinctual, natural feminine bodily matter of me that has always attracted my evolving ego-spirit self. “As above, so below. As without, so within.” Could it be that my masculine-oriented ego’s relentless search for my feminine self is finally paying off? Are our physical bodies and our Mother, Nature, truly outer reflections of our souls’ inner realities as medieval sages and saints believed? Is the Mother of Life refueling and replenishing me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually because my ego self is making an effort to cross the divide that’s separated my inner opposites for so long? What do you think? Am I on to something?