Two days ago – John Beckett posted a very good article on getting back to Nature (Link to “Immersion at his blog is here – the link to the same posting at No Unsacred Place is located here), following his return from the OBOD East Coast Gathering. Seemingly, a few folks have taken objection to the article’s perspective of getting back into the wilder parts of Nature – that the cities are seemingly made out to be parts of our environment to be dismissive of. Well, I’m not here to pile on….
…nor am I here to play defender. John is more than capable of defending his own writing, though from my own perspective, I would postulate that some folks actually missed the point. Its that point that I want to address a bit.
I live in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States. According to the 2010 census numbers, the Dallas/Fort Worth area comprises an estimated population center of nearly 6.5 million people – spread out over a 12-county area in Texas. By population center numbers – this makes this metropolitan area the fourth largest in the United States. So there’s a lot of city and suburban sprawl and a handful of somewhat “wild” or unmaintained areas. For *me* – this forces my mindset to accept that all these buildings, highways, parking lots, shopping centers, refineries, warehouses, schools, and homes are part of the “natural” environment around me, which they are…
I look at all the cars, buildings, billboards, and trash/pollution — and I see where man has crept up on areas that I would have considered to be “natural” and redefined the way the wildlife in this area lives. I walk daily through my neighborhood – staying on the sidewalks for the most part. The area I live in used to be rural. The horse farm that is in the middle of my neighborhood predates all the suburban sprawl that has grown up around it. Its nice to see the horses on my daily walk – and occasionally, I bring a bag of carrots with me to feed to them. However, a few days back, a “For Sale” has gone up in front of Pegasus Ranch. I know that my area is going to change again when a sale goes through. Considering that a high scale neighborhood is being built right against the fence line of the ranch – it isn’t a far jump to reach the likely conclusion.
Every morning, right at dawn, a flight of seven geese goes over my house — on their way from Lewisville Lake (where they’ve been during the evening and night hours) – up the pond just down the street. There, they spend the rest of the day, doing whatever it is that geese do during the day. They are here year round – regardless of the weather. To me, they are just as much residents of the neighborhood as anyone else. Occasionally, we get turkey vultures that come into the neighborhood seeking food. Once they are spotted – the warnings go out to the neighborhood to insure that cats and small dogs are kept inside – so Fluffy doesn’t become a missing pet and a meal. Sometimes during my walk, I’ll come across the local roadrunners in the neighborhood. Sometimes even in my backyard – when they visit for the birdseed and bread I put out every other day.
And while I have all these beauty and Nature right in my own neighborhood — occasionally, I have to go further out and find places in the middle of the woods. Places where I can see everything in the wild — no homes, churches, cell phone towers, paved streets, people driving their cars down the street at all hours of the day with their car stereos blaring some hard thumping bass….somewhere where I can sit back and drink in the way things would be with minimal intrusion from the creature called “Man”. Its no less “Nature” than the neighborhood back home — the G-ds don’t call to me stronger in the woods than they do at my home in the middle of a giant suburban sprawl in the fourth largest population center in the United States. But it does have something removed from it that helps me clear my mindset — a mental reset if you will — a lot less of Man’s intrusions….