However the world came to be, whenever it was all rolled into one, I also materialized. I am a mass of organic matter that has been recycled since the beginning of the universe. I am little bits of matter that originated before me, and when I’m dead, I will return to little bits of matter, I will return to the soil. I refer to myself this way often. It helps define my role in the circle of life.
As I move through the conventional checkpoints of my North-American life, I also move through an involuntary ebb and flow of moods – purposelessness to empowerment, apathy to ambition. So much is up the air. I find myself asking the unanswerable questions; what was the purpose of my life? I’ve never been a particularly religious or spiritual person, having lived my life primarily as a fact-collector, a proponent of the scientific community. I often find solace in ideas of evolutionary behavior, explaining my pursuit of meaning as a survival mechanism, explaining my presence on earth as reproductive roulette. When I think this way, I am a lighthearted leaf, twisting and turning in a breeze; I have no control over anything, and I am freed by that statement.
And yet, despite the indefinite physical evidence, I am somewhat spiritually convinced there’s more; I can feel the whispering reverberations from each of my cells, connecting me to my environment in a powerful way. Nature calls to me.
The moments in my life in which I felt the most inspired, when my cells reverberated the most, I was in an open air environment. Rivers, forests, sand, lakes, bogs. Here, I allow myself to exist, and nothing more, purposely diverting my thoughts up and out of my mind. Acknowledging my own simple presence has opened me up to the simple presence of life around me. I feel heat from mosses, shivers from insects on my skin, and pulses from waves lapping pebbles; they bring me peace of mind.
My project this term is to delve into our relationship with nature as humans. What drives some of us to hike through jungle thickets, and brave the harsh equatorial sun? Alternately, what drives some of us to stay indoors, stare at screens, and shut our blinds? Is nature an emotional need?
“I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil—to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society”.
–Walking, Henry David Thoreau, 1862
A short video of me at the Pacora River:
– Jocelynn Nadeau