There is a mountain behind the house where I used to live where I would go when I wanted to feel peace. Walking among the towering pines, soft needles underfoot, I myself felt rooted – my lungs would open and I could breathe easier. Now, I live in a big city built of apartment buildings stacked in rows like Lego blocks. I feel as though I haven’t seen a tree in weeks. I heard birds singing the other day and felt a thrill of joy – before I realised they were perched in a cage on someone’s balcony. I feel suffocated by the concrete and brick, as though their heavy presence is a weight bearing down on my shoulders. I miss the nature I took for granted in my old home. The longing has made me think about the connection between people and nature; about how important it is not only for our own wellbeing but also for the wellbeing of the world around us.
I use the term ‘connection’ loosely, to refer not only to physical interactions with the natural environment, but also the feeling of being connected with and a part of nature. I use it to refer to an intimate knowledge of the natural world in which we live and an appreciation of it as something important.