In our every day lives of texting, Twitter, Instagram and Angry Birds, we often don’t take the time to peel our eyes away from our iPhones and notice the amazing natural world around us.
The modern media tends to over-dramatize being a part of your natural environment as a major effort. While Mother Nature can have a harsh side, you don’t have to run around naked eating bugs to help reconnect yourself to your wild side (unless you really want to).
Start with some of these easy steps and I pretty much guarantee that you’ll find yourself thirsting for more of the great outdoors.
Long ago, the patterns of nature used to be the source of our stories and our nightly entertainment. From Orion, the giant huntsman, whom Zeus placed among the stars, to Cassiopeia, the queen of the night sky, their sagas have been slowly replaced by “Breaking Bad” and “Keeping up With the Kardashians.”
Take a night to return to your roots. Get hold of a book to help you identify the constellations. Then head out with a pile of comfy blankets and pillows to the backyard.
Lay back and let your eyes wander amongst the stories of the heroes and villains of old, or challenge your family to come up with their own constellations, along with their unique sagas. (Although, from experience, this can get silly fast.)
Use only candle or firelight after dark and give yourself the dual gift of a digital detox and a uniquely bonding experience with your loved ones.
There’s nothing like gathering around the warm glow of a fire with your tribe of friends and loved ones. As the warmth pulls you in closer, conversations flow more freely around a flickering flame, stories grow more meaningful and life seems somehow more real. (No, you are not weird for not having the TV burning bright holes in your retina like all your neighbors.)
The campfire has been the most popular “Late Show” in human existence. (And, as a nerdy bonus, the red spectrum light from a fire doesn’t interfere with your production of the sleep hormone melatonin like bright electric light and mess with your stress, blood sugar or other hormone levels throughout the next day.)
Gardening, hunting and gathering
Age-old skills like fishing, hunting, wild-food gathering and gardening are at the heart of what has made us human.
Which skill would you rather pass on to the next generation — stalking the gleaming grocery aisle and heating up the perfect package of Hamburger Helper or knowing where and how to look for the fish in a river? Other knowledge to share with your kids could be when to plant, and how to nourish and harvest the perfectly ripened tomato or head of corn.
Your kids should recognize what an actual potato plant looks like and know that trout don’t swim in prepackaged plastic. Just because your parents didn’t teach you doesn’t mean you can’t learn and pass it on.
As part of the rewilding renaissance, a bevy of amazing courses, meetups, clubs and gatherings focus on helping you gain or improve traditional “primitive” and survival skills. This can be a good way to help yourself gain confidence in and reconnect with your natural skills.
Somewhat ironically, you may find most of these resources by doing a quick online search for that particular skill.
Thousands of more ways to reconnect with nature at home are available. We’ve barely scratched the surface.
Take a moment to wake yourself from your digital daze and appreciate the natural world that surrounds you every day. Not only will you come closer to your natural roots, but along the way you may discover a deeper connection with the loved ones and friends you share these experiences with.