Being in Nature

This is the third section from the journal entry I began commenting on here. I had been spending a great deal of time being introspective and wrote about more of my memories – mainly those having to do with being in nature:

I used to spend lunchtime every day in the woods when I worked at [the full-time office job I had for just over a year]. Just out among the trees, eating my lunch in peace and quiet and natural light. I loved my lunch hour and always dreaded going back in to the artificial lights and noise and people.

I’ve always loved spending time in the woods. I wish there were some nearby that I could escape to sometimes. That would be so nice. A world without the outside, without the woods, without books… I couldn’t imagine a more horrible place to be.

Yes. All of that. Nature has always been an important part of my life. Being outside in the woods or next to a body of water is soothing to my soul. I love the quiet, the solitude, the creatures, the fresh air, and really just everything about it.

Honestly, taking my lunches that way was probably a large part of why I lasted at that specific job for as long as I did. It was full-time and very demanding, although at least I didn’t need to bring any of my work home. Of course, we also desperately needed the money which was motivating in and of itself, but my forest lunches probably helped me hang on for a good *6-7 months longer than I might otherwise have endured.

That was certainly the longest I have ever managed to stay at one full-time “regular” job.

During lunch I escaped from the people, sounds, smells, and fluorescent lighting of the office and basked in the fresh cool breezes underneath the trees. There I would read my book, write in my journal, and watch the birds flying and twittering about.

I kept my solitary lunch plans quite regularly and mostly regardless of the weather. On the occasional days when the rain was too heavy for me to take my customary walk and lunch in the woods, I grudgingly trudged up three flights of stairs and ate my lunch in the break room at a table by the window – always with a book so that my coworkers would leave me alone.

I wrote a bit in a previous post about how I inadvertently hurt my preschool friend on a swing and this next memory is from the same time period:

I used to love climbing the rock wall in front of my house by myself [when I was 3-5 years old]. I made rooms out of all of the rocks and I’d bring my caterpillar friends with me to play. One day I went to the rock wall and found dozens of smashed caterpillars on the rocks and I cried and cried. The bigger kids in the neighborhood had smashed them and I was devastated.

For the most part, at that time, my friends were caterpillars. They were much easier to be friends with than the other children were. I made elaborate homes for my little caterpillar friends in what was supposed to be a flower bed in front of our house. In actuality, it was a dirt-filled caterpillar habitat that I would occasionally turn into a mud pit with the garden hose while taking care not to drown my tiny friends, of course.

Next, I wrote a bit about solitude and reading – whether in nature or no. An ending spoiler warning for the old Twilight Zone show until after the quote:

The Twilight Zone episode, “Time Enough at Last,” has always been my favorite episode. To have so much time… all the time in the world to read and research and not to ever have to talk to anyone again! There would be nobody to interrupt the reading and researching, enough food. Such a nightmare to **break your glasses and not be able to see after finding yourself in that utopia.

It’s interesting to me that I have generally imagined utopia as being a place where there were a lot of books and no other people. I always thought I would miss the other creatures who were implied to have been killed in that episode though.

Notes:

*I base this statement primarily on the amount of time it took me to completely burn out and quit my very few other full-time jobs. Part-time or otherwise non-traditional jobs with few or no coworkers tended to go much better for me.

**Fun fact! Breaking my glasses and being largely blind in a hypothetical future apocalypse scenario is my biggest (hopefully) irrational fear.

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9 thoughts on “Being in Nature

  1. I really identify with this. We used to have a small woods near the house I grew up in. I used to spend SO much time out there reading, writing, and acting out little plays, all by myself. I liked it when the cat came with me, but the dog was too annoying (large lab interrupting me!). The way we’ve managed to “manage” without nature is to buy a too-big house in a less desireable location and everyone “offices” in different areas when we’re all home. It’s not the same as nature (though my Yankee Candles help!), but it works. It’s interesting how hard it is to need that space more, and yet space costs so much, and getting near a wooded area (with amazing internet) is complicated and expensive. I keep thinking that the better Internet gets, the more likely those of us who need to live out in the quiet can achieve that, but for now, well, we do what we can, eh? I did find working with nuns (or attending colleges where they were) helped in that they, too, want quiet, so the campuses have a quieter vibe and more greenspace. It seems countercultural in the general population to value “silence.” Thanks so much for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’re very fortunate to have a lake and nature trails nearby, but they require driving and planning in order to get there initially so we don’t go there nearly as often as I’d like to. We’re in a very walkable neighborhood right now, but I haven’t figured out when I can walk and run into the fewest other people.

      We used to live in much more wooded areas when I was a kid and then again before I had my oldest child and soon after. That’s been the most difficult thing about living in the region we are now because it’s very much car-based and, while I thankfully can drive, I prefer to be able to walk places. I haven’t yet figured out how to find a balance of walkability and nature of the sort I grew up with (small town with many green spaces). That balance doesn’t really exist any longer where I grew up, even if we could afford to live there.

      We’re renting now, but someday we hope to be able to get some property in the woods and build a house around our needs. It seems to be a very far away dream though.

      That’s a really good point about how most people don’t value silence and really cool about the nuns! I ended up finding a religious home with Quakers in recent years partially because of how much they do value silence. Also, they tend to avoid things like artificial scents and extremely cold air-conditioning so it’s much more sensory friendly for me to spend time with them.

      Thank you for your comment! I relate a great deal to what you’ve written as well 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s my favorite Twilight Zone episode as well. I would never want a nuclear annihilation & the man would eventually die without access to medical care or food, but the concept of the hustle and loudness that makes up so much of the human race would be wonderful if there was an island off the mainland. an oasis for people like me who really are bogged down by the randomness and chaos of kids, dogs and fireworks that go on way past the 4th of July. We used to live in a wooded property and for the most part, it still is. Many trees have died & the neighbors have had dogs that bark non-stop until they have to be called in since the mid 1990’s, so I mostly watch the wooded yard from inside.

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