La nature au naturelle

Selon le naturaliste John Brownlie, plusieurs faussent leur appréciation de la nature en cherchant du spectaculaire. Ce qui en résulte : on oublie d’apprécier la nature tel quel.

Les randonnées en nature sont tellement plus enrichissantes, assure-t-il, quand on prend le temps de s’attarder aux petits détails, de respirer les parfums de la forêt, de s’intéresser à ce qui se trouve autour de soi. Il est important que le promeneur ne s’attende pas à voir un ours, un orignal, un arbre gigantesque, ainsi de suite ; c’est ainsi que la nature paraît banale. Autrement dit, la nature ne reçoit aucun ordre et n’est pas là pour répondre aux caprices du promeneur.

Parole de naturaliste, la nature ne se révèle pas sur commande ; elle se livre tel quel. C’est comme ça qu’elle est belle, c’est comme ça qu’il faut apprendre à l’aimer.

In the Presence
of the Ordinary

John Brownlie,
November 1998


t.gif (259 bytes)o experience nature more fully you have only to stop searching for the spectacular. Stop trying to make something happen to you. Relax and nature will surround and envelop you with wonderful things.

So often, visitors to wild places want too much: to see a moose, to meet a bear, to see the biggest tree or the deepest valley. These things do not bring us closer to nature because they are most often outside of ourselves.

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(photo: Jimmy Brown)

Visitors need to allow nature to enter into us, become a part of us, overlap with our soul. To do this, simply refuse to go out searching for the big bear, the giant tree, the fastest animal on earth. And this is a daily choice to relax, slow down and accept what comes to you.

I learned this for myself when I was out with my camera racing along a trail to get a photo of the biggest maple tree I could find. I zipped by a clearing in the woods. "No big maples here!" But as I pressed onwards, a tug on my memory slowed me down enough to make me stop and look back. Yes, this was the place where last year, with a friend, we had stopped to watch butterflies sipping nectar from these flowers. We became butterflies ourselves and visited several blossoms, breathing in deeply the wonderful scent. Then we sat down and listened to the buzzing of bumbles at the flowers, feeling the warmth of the morning sun on our faces. A couple of birds flew in and a snowshoe hare hopped along, choosing certain herbs to munch on. In the distance, fog drifted along the shore, slowly changing the shape of the land. It felt so good to be there, a part of that landscape, a part of nature.

My memory had pulled me back into this clearing. I realized that while chasing after the biggest old maple tree I could find, I felt hurried, impatient, unsatisfied, frustrated in not yet finding the tree of my dreams. Now, I consciously gave up my tree quest. I sat down, relaxed, and as before, opened up my awareness to let nature surround me again. It was wonderful.

So to experience nature more fully, consciously decide to forget about your preconceived ideas of what you want from nature. Forget about the quest for the spectacular. Forget about the biggest, fastest, most impressive thing. Then, as you walk along, slowly let nature tug at you. Let the soft lichens hanging down from that branch brush against your cheek. Sit in a patch of sunlight and listen to a buzzing insect who is also warming up in the morning sunlight. Rather than search with piercing eyes, gaze with adoring looks and let nature draw you to her.

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(photo: Jimmy Brown)

Once you get the feel of it, it's very simple and easy to let go of being hurried, anxious, impatient--and just be accepting of the wonderful nature around you.

And the more often you do this, the greater your memory bank becomes of pleasant times and feelings in nature. And these memories make it easier for you to be willing to give up the quest for the spectacular and truly be in the presence of the ordinary.