There is magnetism in the wild. Something that no matter who you are and what life you lead, it draws you in. For a moment, be it brief, you are reconnected. It is this primordial pull; this intense tugging at the heart that lures us back to wild places, that allows us to gaze in wonder at a budding flower, to be entranced by the theatre of the night skies and to be hypnotised by a jackals piercing call ringing through the early morning mist. We are taken back to a time when we were integral components of earth’s magical system. An ecosystem that we were never supposed to have divided ourselves from.
Environmental artist Andy Goldworthy writes,
“We often forget that we are nature. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say we have lost our connection to nature, we’ve lost our connection to ourselves”
Therein lies one of human kinds greatest mistakes and most monumental tragedies. When we isolated ourselves from nature, and began to believe ourselves above it and not apart of it, we broke a link so crucial to our continued survival on this planet that we now find ourselves in an environmental crisis.
“We have to stop speaking about the Earth being in need of healing. The Earth doesn’t need healing. We do. It is our task to rediscover ourselves in Nature.” Ian Mc Callum
I am one of the lucky ones as I live here at Londolozi. I have an endless tract of beautiful wilderness to lose myself in, right on my doorstep. But how do we, as modern humans, reconnect ourselves in a city context? How do we begin this process when we are surrounded by concrete and fumes on a daily basis? There is an old African saying that goes; How does one eat an elephant? And the answer is… one bite at a time! So while I am definitely not advocating a change in diet here, this old proverb gives us one crucial piece of advice: we start small. We start with ourselves.
So here is my recommendation: Take time to notice. It doesn’t have to be a massive chunk out of the day. But I urge you to cognitively recognize an aspect of the natural world each day. This can be a beautiful cloud formation, the sun warming up your skin, a sip of cool still water. And then when you do have the time, opt for a walk on the beach or in the park. If you have a garden, spend time in it! Plant flowers and vegetables that you can observe transforming in front of your very eyes. When planning trips, get out of the city, whether this is to a reserve nearby, the coast or even coming to visit us here in the South African bush. It is a conscious choice. And, it starts with you.
Stop, breathe, rediscover.
Written and photographed by: Andrea Campbell