Imagine a Newer World
Imagine a newer world. A world in which all children grow up with a deep understanding of the life around them. Where all of us know the animals and plants of our own backyards as well as we know the televised Amazon rainforest, or better. Where the more high-tech our lives become, the more we experience nature in our lives. Where we come to all our senses, including our sense of humility. Where we feel more alive.
In his essay, Richard Louv shares his inspiring thoughts and hopes for a “Newer World.” He describes a world with humans living in harmony with nature. It’s a world where the fantastic beauty of nature enriches one’s life, where people truly care for the environment around them, where people are born into, live with and return to the land, sky, water and soil.
The article is beautiful and poetic, but also sad and a little shocking. Some as an ideal or utopian vision is of a world where people and nature live in harmony. Ultimately, it’s sad is that this lifestyle is disappearing and needs to be recreated.
When my family lived in the city, the opposite world was definitely our norm.
We were very much a part of the nine-to-five grind, or worse, the seven-to-midnight grind or whatever grind it took to make ends meet. We juggled the busy, demanding schedules of our children. We didn’t even know our neighbor’s names though we lived in the same neighborhood for almost a decade. We were lucky if we got away once a year for a vacation and even that was often harried and stressful and filled with the worry of returning home and resuming our responsibilities. Nature? Who had time for nature?
Finally we had enough and decided to leave our careers and open a fishing camp away from the city. We uprooted our children and transplanted them into nature so they could experience that sense of wonder and connection daily. My husband and I still work, though we work remotely, off grid, on our own schedules. We certainly don’t have the most money, but the rewards are incredible.
It’s a small shred of the world Louv describes, and it’s wonderful.
I’ll never forget that look of wonder on my children’s faces when they first saw a fish that was near a hundred years old. Of course, we remember the keepers, but very fish is a wonder to children. They love even the tiniest perch or a small walleye or our hundredth pike of the day. It doesn’t matter to them because, in their innocence, it’s all a work of art. A fish isn’t just a fish, it’s a mystery. Its scales are uncountable. It comes from another world. It breathes in the water, in a world where we as humans cannot survive without the aid of technology. It survives despite the massive odds against it.
We are so very lucky that fishing has opened up a whole new world. A world where the lake is ever changing with the season. We could spend a hundred lifetimes just on one lake and never truly know all its secrets. The sky above us is also every changing and awe inspiring. The trees, the wildlife, the plants, the flowers, the rocks, every little bay and cove, every shallow spot or the ones that are hundreds of feet deep; all of it is so wonderful and it means everything to me, everything, that my children see this world before it’s gone.
Louv ends his essay with the hauntingly beautiful line where he speaks about spending one’s last days wrapped in the arms of nature. I want that to be my destiny. I want to be a part of this natural wonder.
I hope that one day, when I’m long gone, my son looks back on these days as the best of his life. I hope he teaches his children and his grandchildren that love that he has now. I hope he never loses that wonderment, but that it only grows with time and love and knowledge.