Reclaiming Nature

It’s almost full summer now, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. Leaves are out, spring bulbs have passed, lakes and ponds are starting to warm up, campgrounds are open. It’s time to play outdoors.
Or is it? Many of us feel very uncomfortable playing. How many survivors have bodies that are stiff and uncoordinated and constantly are walking into something or tripping and looking foolish? How many cringe at sports, remembering bad grade school experiences? How many were taught to stay perfectly still while being abused and are afraid to move freely?
And how many of us were abused outdoors, in the soft velvet night? How many are afraid of insects — for good reason? And of other little critters that make their homes outside; snakes, toads and frogs, rodents?
It is infuriating that our abuse can separate us from nature. It’s totally unfair that the beauty of a full moon in a clear sky should send us into panic. A walk in the woods should never bring up memories of being hunted as a child and warm summer nights should not bring memories of circles and bonfires. This is not how it is supposed to be.
There is so much beauty outdoors, and we have the right to reclaim it and enjoy it, just like anybody else. We also have the right to complain loudly that reclamation is necessary. We have a right to grieve how we were misused and how nature was tainted with our abuse. We are allowed to be very, very angry.
Some survivors, fueled by anger, seize their right to enjoy nature. They hike, go camping, climb mountains, play softball, do anything and everything they can think of. Defiantly, deliberately, disobediently, they enjoy themselves.
Others dip their toes gingerly into the water, wiggling them to make sure they are still there. They go slowly, they test and test again. Tentatively, they allow themselves to feel the sun on their shoulders, the wind in their hair. They nibble at bodily pleasure as if it were an expensive chocolate. Timidly, deliberately, disobediently, they enjoy themselves.
It doesn’t matter ‘how’ we do something. We all have our own individual styles, our own pace in life. It doesn’t matter ‘how well’ we do it or ‘how much’ we do, either. It only matters that we try. For if we try often enough, we will find that we are learning all those things that we should have been able to learn as children. Bodily pleasure, animal pleasure, a connection with all living things.
From Survivorship Notes, Vol 2, No. 6

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4 thoughts on “Reclaiming Nature

  1. When I hated my life, I took to the outdoors. I hated my life until I saw how the world looked different when I stood in it, and paid attention to the awe. Nature doesn’t kill or torture for sport.

    Knowing that and reminding myself that nature I could seek comfort outdoors by finding my own “spot,” to learn how to keep varmint free saved my sanity. I loved the pine tree house where I made a bed on the soft floor of needles when I got too scared to sleep in my bed at night. Because of the evergreen skirt, that skimmed the ground, no one ever found my spot, or my sleeping bad/stash.

    I depended on nature. My heart sings gratitude for the natural world.

  2. Thank you, Jeannie – this is lovely. Being in nature is my most important source of healing. Being in nature It reminds me that the world is much bigger than me and my life, and helps me to connect more with the rest of the world – including people.

  3. wow – I read this at just the right time. Like yesterday – and today I locked my keys in the car and HAD to sit out in the nice sun with a little breeze for an hour waiting for the tow truck! No way that I could/would do that at home -too many perps around and I stay busy doing something all the time. –guess that I needed a break. Thank you for the encouragement!

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