Back to Nature (Published on - Sept. 6, 2007)
Learn how to investigate nature
Photo by Rick Tremmel
The heavy dew hangs on spider webs as if lace doilies were strung from the trees.
Water moving over smooth stones finding avenues, pathways, release hold back, pools and gathers, release. I am water. I am dew. I am fog. I am rain, one drop of sweat; one breath of suspended molecules.

Our breath is a part of the river as the rains and our tears fall to the earth to become water again moving over smooth stones finding avenues, pathways, release.

As the brook flows it mists the scented pines. As the smoke rises from the hot coal fire, it meets the evening fog. As the aroma of steaming coffee warms and fills all the damp dark places of the forest, we are united with this lone hammock, with that domed tree canopy, this moonlit temple, this earth we call home.

I believe we are living our lives so far removed from nature, our mother earth that we, as a society, are incapable of making sound decisions based on ancient earth wisdom and medicine. Of what else can we depend upon?

Our basic instincts have become dulled by our choices based on law rather than ethics. The lessons learned from nature are dependable. The lessons learned from humans are somewhat less reliable.

I don’t consider the past as a panacea for the future. I don’t relish slugging through the swamps or being eaten alive by mosquitoes as a better way of life.

Civilization has made marvelous advances beyond lighting a fire in a damp bear cave, but have we become so far removed from the earth beneath our marvelous inventions that life on this earth is becoming inhuman?

Unlike Chicken Little, I don’t believe the sky is falling, nor am I knelt in prayer waiting for the end of the world to come, but I do believe we have a chance to reverse some irresponsible decisions made in the past. I believe we can make our earth a better place for our children if we are just willing to try.

There seems to be deep lines drawn in the sand concerning global warming. There seems to be those that can find a zillion reasons to dispute the very facts stated in front of them. If humankind had always thought like that we might not have ever sailed the oceans.

Perhaps those that swore the world was flat or that volcano’s were punishment by angered deities weren’t thinking with great foresight. Sticking our heads in the sand so we don’t have to hear the truth or deal with the truth is only going to give us sun burned behinds.

Obviously there’s always going to be challenges facing humanity; monsters at sea and fires to battle, imagined or real. The question is how best we deal with these challenges.

Step out of that ivory tower. Pitch a tent upon the cool ground. Listen to the river roll over the smooth stones. Breathe in the mist. Watch the stealthy raccoon creep through the night, or the little mouse pretending not to be seen at the edge of the moss. Hear the owl’s call to his mate. Understand his soundless flight. Each of these entities has a lesson to impart.

Let us study earth medicine as cultures before us. Let us learn how to investigate nature, that by observing and learning nature’s lessons we may have the skills and appreciation for survival in the future ... back to nature.

Karen can be reached at

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