Naturalness

I dug in the dirt today. It was nice to get back into the soil after a long winter. I feel a profound connectedness to the natural world and it is in this sort of work that emphasizes that to me. I feel the pulsating energy of life bursting out in all directions. It is a comforting presence this wild sentience of the natural world.

It is an ancient wisdom this knowledge of the land. Our ancestor’s once relied on this essential knowledge of the earth.  Progress of modern civilization has left most people especially city dwellers unnaturally detached from the natural world.

Exposure to the nature was once so commonplace, but times have changed and we’ve changed with them.

Are we losing our naturalness?

In his book “The Nature Principle’  Richard Louv calls it Nature Deficit Disorder. Louv defines nature deficit disorder as an atrophied awareness and a diminished ability to find meaning in the life that surrounds us.

The author explains and quite passionately that “The traditional ways that humans have experienced nature are vanishing.” which greatly affects our health and well-being. He evokes The Nature Principle which states “that a reconnection to the natural world is fundamental to human health, well-being and survival.”

Louv sites example after example of scientific studies backing up his well thought out claim.  He brings up the validity of green exercise and it’s proven enhancement of mood and self-esteem while reducing feelings of anger and depression.

Louv refers to a study which found that humans living in landscapes that lack trees or other natural features undergo patterns of social, psychological and physical breakdowns that are similar to those observed in animals that have been deprived of their natural habitat.

This should be of no surprise to any animal of the human variety reading this.

I remember growing up in the Seventies and Eighties.  I remember being outside, if the weather was nice, we’d be outside all day. The streets and yards and parks were full of kids running and playing.  These days it seems that all the kids are inside, tapping on one screen or another. With all the good that the digital age has brought, we have paid for it; this pixel existence we call progress.

We are losing our natural intelligence; knowing the signs of nature.  Nature is becoming quite unnatural for many of us, myself included.

Where once our ancestors roamed the wild land, living as one with the planet in an equitable balance with natural world, modern humans set out to conquer and conquer we have.   We control our physical surroundings to the point to where we can bring day to night and water and life to where none exists.

Humans have progressed out beyond the Earth. We can harness the power of the microscopic and the macroscopic.  We have cured diseases and built bridges and dams and power plants….We are a powerful race with much to accomplish, and much to lose.

We have polluted ourselves and our world, always in a constant battle of who will control: humankind or nature.  Now nature is fighting back and I can only wonder and hope for the best.

And I do hope for the best and I do have hope for the future.  I see it in the eyes of a child fascinated with a ladybug in the backyard, a teenager taking water samples at a local restoration project. I see it in the experienced hands of the citizen gardener, the urban naturalist and the amateur botanist. There are success stories, more and more everyday.

We all share this love for nature and it’s up to us, each one of us to get back what we have lost, restore our naturalness and teach our children how to coexist with technology and nature together.  These concepts do not have to be mutually exclusive.

I recommend reading this excellent book “the Nature Principle” by Richard Louv and  then get moving, even if it’s a five-minute walk in the neighborhood, it’s a start and all it takes is that first step to get going…. better yet bring a friend and save our naturalness one step and one friend at a time.

Have a wild day!

Strawberryindigo.

 

The grass is always greener…A letter to my neighbor

The lawn of a garden taken from a low level.

Image via Wikipedia

I don’t have an alias for you so I will call you: The man who messes with his lawn too much.  I used to call you the poisoner but I thought that was a little harsh, maybe you are just ignorant.  Keeping that in mind I decided to write this open letter to you. 

I see you often since we are neighbors.  I see you water at all times and rather frequently, almost everyday in the summer.  You’d think that because of this your lawn would be lush and green.   It’s not.  You know what it looks like….It looks sick and patchy.  It’s hard to take.  Even my shriveled up tree looks better.

You are constantly at work on your lawn; mowing very short so that it resembles a brown golf course.  You re-seed it at least twice a year and you are spraying pesticides around like there is no tomorrow.  It’s a bit ridiculous to tell the truth.  There you are, wearing goggles with a giant container of poison on your back.  You spray and spray.  Everywhere.  I’m tempted to run out and scold you.  I want to scream “Stop the insanity, you are poisoning our planet with your damned pesticides!”

I need peace in the neighborhood so I grin and bear it.  It still bothers me. It’s all so unnecessary. 

I must say that I might be partially to blame for your obsession with your lawn, that and retirement.  Where I come in is that my lawn is the one that is lush and green.  Everyday my greenness stares you in the face.  It never used to be that way and neither did my lawn.  Once we were like you,  I didn’t use poison but I made more work for myself by how I treated my lawn.  I have learned a few things since then.  Maybe my neighbor, you can too…

 

watering in the morning

I have read many books and have at least a decade of first hand knowledge on the subject of lawn care.   Especially organic lawn care which I highly recommend.  Mother Nature really knows best.  I work with nature instead of trying to conquer it. You are fighting a losing battle there.

And so Mr. neighbor, the guy who messes with his lawn too much:

This one’s for you… Here are some tips I’d like to share to help you in your quest for a green lawn.

Watering  Do it infrequently and do it deeply.  This forces the roots of the grass to grow longer in order to get a drink.  This makes the grass stronger and better able to withstand longer periods without water.  Also do it in the middle of the night or early in the morning. Watering in the heat of the day causes the water to evaporate before it can sink into the soil. 

Mowing  Mowing height is an important element to consider.  Giving your lawn a super short cut may look nice to you but your lawn hates it. Keeping the mower blade 3 to 4 inches off the ground  is the best  during the summer months.  The shade the taller blades of grass provide enable the grass to hold on to moisture longer.  Thus you water less. In addition, the more you mow the grass the harder it works to re grow itself.  In my opinion, it feels softer and is more lush when it’s allowed to be longer.

 Poisoning  There is a better way.  You don’t need that.  Look around, it’s a dead zone over there. No birds, no butterflies or cute little insects, no weeds, nothing but dying grass. It’s depressing. It gets into our ground water.  It’s even found in breast milk.  Please stop it! 

Your lawn would healthier without all that.  Nature provides.  In the coming months, I will be writing more on the subject of organic gardening.  Perhaps we can whip that lawn of yours into shape so that by next summer, you will have a lush green lawn and more free time to spent with your wife, who I happen to know, is a nice person.

Happy Gardening,

Signed your neighbor,  Strawberryindigo.