One of the joys in education is the wonder and curiosity of people. My organic chemistry teacher used to say “don’t let academia beat the three year old curiosity out of you.” We are hardwired to explore and learn about our environment as humans. Experiences in nature can help reconnect us to rhythms of life, patterns in the world, our interconnections and interdependence.
There is something healing in simple outdoor activities and projects. For me whittling on a woodworking project, hunting for wood, making unique gifts with local materials is soothing and focusing activity. In the book “Simple Life-Friluftsliv-People Meet Nature” by Roger and Sarah Isberg, a chapter titled “Experiential Knowledge” highlights the example of fishing as not just a set of skills to learn, but rather a knowledge gained by reflecting in our heads upon what we have experienced with our hands and felt with our bodies.
“Not known because not looked for,
But heard, half heard in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick, now, here, now always,
A condition of complete simplicity.
(Costing not less than everything)
-T.S. Elliot (Four Quartets)
Taking time to slow down from our busy lives is part of our self-care. Being in nature and doing simple activities, gaining experiential knowledge, and engaging the wonder in our souls, may be quite important for our own health and the health of our planet. Consider getting out into nature this holiday season and allow nature to simply rekindle your three-year-old curiosity.
Eric Chatt, N.D.