This week: Into the WoodsEdited by: Kittiara
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What is your best experience with the natural world? There is a lot to love about the wild, but one must always respect it.
This week's Action/Adventure Newsletter is all about the woods, and beyond...
I love to wander through the woods. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, once I am amongst the trees I just feel better. It is my firm belief that we human beings are meant to be close to nature and that the environment we have built for ourselves prevents us from benefiting from the wild like we used to. As soon as I step into a wood I feel that I can breathe properly, and after a while a calm settles over me. I feel at peace, centered if you will. My stresses slip away and whenever I feel sad I feel... perhaps not fully healed, but not as hurt as I was. I have shed tears before, in a little hidden spot off the beaten track. There, where nobody could see me, where nobody could judge me, I could allow myself to feel and to work through my pain.
Of course, it helps that where I live the woods are pretty safe. I don’t have to worry about dangerous predators – not of the human kind, nor of another species. We do have wildlife around here, and it is always a joy to see them. I have seen deer and plenty of squirrels. Woodpeckers. Lots of small birds. I know that there are badgers in the area, and foxes. No bears, though. They would stop me from wandering!
I respect the woods. Even though I am unlikely to come to any intentional harm, I could slip and fall. I could twist an ankle or break a bone. I wear sensible clothes and sensible footwear and I always take great care, especially when I stray from the path. I know these woods, but it doesn’t do to become too complacent.
I shake my head at the “man vs nature”, “taming nature” narrative of far too many survival stories. I know that I, too, in this newsletter talk as though we humans are somehow outside of nature – that’s the way we tend to talk – but that isn’t the case, is it? We are a part of nature. We are supposed to work with nature, rather than against it. It isn’t a battle, and if it were, we’d never win. The wild has been here before we humans arrived, and if we are silly enough to mess things up too much for our species it will flourish quite happily after we’ve gone. The human need to dominate won’t pay off here – or not for long. As Dr. Ian Malcolm states in Jurassic Park, “Life, uh, finds a way.” Or, to use an even better quote from the same character in the same movie, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
I am aware that as we are a part of nature, our creations, too, are a part of nature. Our homes, our clothes, the laptop I am using to create this newsletter… but we rightfully make a distinction about that what is manmade and that what surrounds our creations – the trees and the flowers, the lakes and rolling hills, the depths of the oceans and the snowkissed peaks of the world’s mountain ranges. The natural world engages our senses. It inspires awe. It makes us feel alive, fully and completely, connected to this planet and everything in it.
It is its sheer beauty that makes it such an excellent setting in which to place our characters. From the fantasy novel party on a quest to the crime scene in a thriller, nature has countless uses for us writers.
One captivating novel is The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King. The main character is a young girl, Trisha, who gets lost in a forest. The forest is not like the ones near my house. There are dangerous beings in there. It takes all of her physical and mental strength for Trisha to survive. King does an amazing job at describing what Trisha is going through, and how important it is to never let go of what we hold dear.
If you can get out into nature, I highly encourage you to do so. But be careful! Don’t go off the beaten track if you don’t know where you’re going...
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The Action/Adventure Newsletter Team
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