When was the last time you felt a deep sense of belonging just breathing in a wider landscape; perhaps while looking out a sunset over a lake or lying in a meadow buzzing with life?
At some point in life everyone feels a sense of awe and wonder for the natural world, but keeping that wonder alive in city scapes, concrete pavement and artificial lighting can be difficult.
There is no doubt that connection to earth and nature positively impacts our lives.
Nature has a way of letting us in, holding us when we need to be held, comforting us when we feel disconnected;
if you listen closely you can hear all the stories earth holds.
“In some Native languages the term for plants translates to: those who take care of us.” ― Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants
“Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.” ― Robin Wall Kimmerer
Weaving nature connection into our daily routines and practices helps strengthen your relationship to the earth and the place you live.
These are a few things you can do to connect to the plants, beings and landscapes where you live or are passing through:
Acknowledge plants in the area. They are everywhere, recognise them, see them and observe how they change over time. Take another way home through the park, visit a forest, go to a botanical garden.
Listen to the plants, fungi, birds and insects. Be open to learning from these beings, they have been on this earth so much longer than you. Just take it in.
Ask for their names. Find out what tree you walk past every day. Look through nature guides and research one plant at a time. When we meet someone new, we tend to introduce ourselves and refer to each other by name; why not make an effort to greet fellow plants similarly?
Feel bark, leaves, twigs, flowers and roots. Don't be afraid to interact with plants. Use your senses! Gently tap and touch familiar plants. (Some plants can be poisonous to touch, be careful)
Learn and document what nature knows. Keep a nature journal or take images. This is a fun way to keep your experiences in one place that you can look back on whenever you like. More on nature journaling here.
If you're harvesting plants keep this in mind:
“Know the ways of the ones who take care of you, so that you may take care of them. Introduce yourself. Be accountable as the one who comes asking for life. Ask permission before taking. Abide by the answer. Never take the first. Never take the last. Take only what you need. Take only that which is given. Never take more than half. Leave some for others. Harvest in a way that minimizes harm. Use it respectfully. Never waste what you have taken. Share. Give thanks for what you have been given. Give a gift, in reciprocity for what you have taken. Sustain the ones who sustain you and the earth will last forever.” ― Robin Wall Kimmerer