nature as an antidote
If you’ve gotten in touch with me, either for business or just to get your head together, over the past few weeks, it’s likely you and I have taken a little walk together.
You see, as I attempt to solve problems, it’s helpful for me to access my ultimate source of solutions during this time: nature. There, it’s just the sky, the mountains, the sagebrush and the rocks, and all of that is as powerful an antidote to the issues I’m facing.
Bear in mind, I’m not preening here about my awesome lifestyle. You see, the raw material is around you, too. It’s all about putting the building blocks of nature together to fend for one’s own survival, and come up with brand-new solutions for what’s ailing us. For the trees, plants and soil all around us may not seem so interesting, but diving into their world makes you want to make some really big changes once you come back to yours. Let me show you what I mean…
over the river and through the woods
So this is the beginning of my trek of the Tahoe Rim Trail. This 135-mile trail intersects the Pacitic Crest Trail that goes through the entire US coast and even into Mexico and Canada. It’s not as packed as it usually is with tourists, so solitude is easily achievable here.
A lot of times, the wind will blow off the lake and make the branches dance, and that in itself is a sort of medicine to me. It is important to integrate that into my life once I get back, and I have to make the sorts of gambles I need to make in order to survive. That breeze is always at my back, whether I choose to acknowledge it or not.
So this bad boy is a Cedar (pictured above), perhaps not as iconically majestic as the sequoias that you’ve heard about, but it’s been here a lot longer than I have, and with any luck, it will probably live a lot longer than myself. You’ll find it growing throughout Western North America. It’s the state tree of Montana, and it’s used frequently in construction.
Maybe it’s a bit woo-woo for me to say, but since my entire life is based around building connections with others, I don’t try to stop at humans. My own practice of forest bathing involves watching the trees and contemplating their life cycles, how they position themselves in nature to gain sun and nutrients. Evolutionary Ecologist Monica Gagliano has performed experiments with pea plants and mimosa that demonstrate a plant’s ability to learn and remember. Trees adjust similarly to their environment, yet at a far more gradual scale. When it comes time to recycle yourself, it’s possible one of these guys will take up a little bit of you and turn you into something that doesn’t have to wonder like I do about how it survives and thrives.
Occasionally along the way, you’ll spot a meadow similar to this (pictured above). It’s really a universe unto itself, one that carries on pretty much without any need for us. I like to do Facetime meetings out here, because I kinda like to get nature into the mix, especially if I’m doing some mentorship or connection. So much of what I try to bring to the table, whether it’s with 1CaB or with my own consulting, is to bring my experience of nature to others. Especially now that people can’t really experience it for themselves if they don’t live here, it really shouldn’t be hoarded.
The mighty Truckee River. During the time we were developing the 1CaB product suite, I synchronized myself with Vital Recovery to not only get a quick energy boost, but to commune more deeply with nature through mindful consumption of my plant allies. The more we utilize them in our daily lives, the more access we gain to our innermost resources, furthering a deeper connection to the natural world which connects all living things.
The coast of Lake Tahoe. Stories abound of the preserved bodies jettisoned into the lake by the mafia back in the day. I’d rather not speak to that, but things tend to last a bit longer out here.
So many massive, cataclysmic shifts in tectonic plates, molten magma, and the continual scouring of glaciers molding this piece of land. Those processes continue to this day, and all of us scurry around these shores like motes of dust to adjust and adapt to it. Learning to soar with the current is a lifelong mission of mine. It starts by recognizing that nature is the boss.
In the darkest nights
This path I take almost took my life, one winter. During one winter month a few years back, I was doing some back-country skiing and got stuck for a few pretty terrifying hours in a drift while attempting to ski down. As the temperature descended and the sun set, hypothermia kicked in with the arrival of a new snow squall. I started looking at trees and thinking any one of them might make a good place to rest — and, by extension, pass away. And I was practically in my backyard as this happened.
Luckily a friend of mine called search-and-rescue, who came and dug me out. I ended up suffering nothing except a blow to my ego, which I’m pretty grateful for, considering the alternative.
It left me with one of two things I can tell you about nature:
- Nature is more in control than we like to admit to ourselves as human beings.
- Change is constant. That peaceful trek you took down the same trail behind your house can become quite treacherous. And then, eventually, it’s back to peaceful again.
Humans have been barging into its untouched sanctuaries, and it’s highly likely that COVID-19. Recognizing nature’s primacy is key to surviving what it throws at us. For quite some time, huany previous newer diseases, jumped the fence between previously uncontacted populations of animals and humans. That and our continuous reliance on fossil fuels is us continuing to upset the balance of elements that WE rely on for our survival. However, we do have nature and its plant allies to learn from as well. And if we’re bringing these plant allies into our lives, they can help us with sleep, with digestion and with our overall well-being. They could even help us live as long as your average ponderosa pine. This century will be pivotal in determining whether we accomplish that. Otherwise, without listening to their message, we’ll end up dying alone in the cold. It’s as simple as that.
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