In Island Home – a landscape memoir, Tim Winton wrote some beautiful words in appreciation of Australian landscape. He implores Australians to go forth not just to record or catalogue what is there, but to “bring knowledge inward” and to “celebrate what we encounter”.
Many of us visit National Parks and places where the natural world still dominates over human intrusion, but while there do we let ‘the nature’ speak to us? We photograph the views, our friends on the trail, the creek crossings, the waterfalls, the wattles in flower, the fluorescent fungi, the inquisitive wallabies, the feeding lorikeets, often without seeing the details, the evolving processes and the networks and ecological inter-connections that are present in every location.
Yet it is the geomorphic history and the sustaining systems, the interdependent linking of land and life, that makes these attractive precincts possible in the first place – the harnessing and sharing of energy, the nutrient cycles, and the water cycle. We tend to live taking so much for granted.
I have often tried through my geography teaching and outdoor trips with kids to help the young minds absorb this message of our landscape. Helping them take in that ambience of beauty that swims through us and floats around us when we give the land time to speak to us. This, to me, is an essential aspect of ‘deep’ living. Of being of the mood. Of being aligned with nature. How truly we need to find time to give thanks and love our homeland.
Sometimes it simply takes a trip into the bush with the inquisitive young to teach us to see the patterns using all our senses.