Mother Nature is the best healer there is

This past weekend, a friend and I escaped Montreal and the NASCAR hordes descending upon it by fleeing to the mountains. Literally.

We camped out at a national park, hiking through pine forests,

Went wading in here after a 14 km hike – Rats Falls, Mont Tremblant National Park

kayaking along serene lakes,

Lac Provost – Mont Tremblant National Park

foraging for wild mushrooms which we added to our dinner,

Fresh wild Lobster Mushrooms sautéed in a skillet over a campfire can be enjoyed for free if you find them fresh in the wild. You don’t have to pay $14 per kilo to enjoy them.

spending the night chatting by a campfire while roasting marshmallows and sticking pieces of Toblerone chocolate into bananas and melting that over the fire.

If you’ve never roasted marshmallows over an open fire, you’re easily missing one of the simplest pleasures in life.

We lucked out and found a spot which even had its own little private beach by the lake.

Our spot.

We would fall asleep hearing loons singing on the lake, seeing the stars and the Milky Way above us and counting how many shooting stars we could each spot. The sleeps were deep and filled with vivid dreams. Mornings meant a fresh dip in the lake and drinking my morning tea while sitting on the beach and watching the sun rise over the mountains.

Lac Provost

We were greeted by rabbits, raccoons and could hear coyotes in the distance at night.
In truth, I loved it even if at night the temperature fell to 5 degree Centigrade in the middle of August. Standing alone and looking at the rounded hills, the endless forests, towering pine trees, the placid lakes and noisy streams I realized that THIS is the real world. All that other stuff of insurance policies, being part of a fake social scene, designer dresses and handbags, gym memberships, fraudulent elections, flat-screen TVs, celebrity reality TV shows and a forced and fake economic political and economic system are just that: fake and forced. Someone came up with these ideas somewhere along the line and have now imposed it on us, but when you go out into the wild, all that stuff is rendered meaningless and you’re finally allowed to just BE.
This is not an original thought. The father of civil disobedience,  Henry David Thoreau spent a year in a shack by Walden Pond to see if he could escape a life of “quiet desperation” as he called it.

Walden Pond, where Thoreau wrote his famous essays on civil disobedience which ended up influencing everyone from Gandhi to Martin Luther King Jr. I came here 2 years ago and the water is freezing cold.

In more dramatic terms, Christopher McCandless went vagabonding through America and ended up dying in the wilds of Alaska (mostly because of his ineptitude) as shown in that excellent film “Into The Wild”.

Christopher McCandless beside the abandoned bus which he later died in, in the wilds of Alaska

Native tribes see the living spirit behind the trees, the animals, the water, the fresh air and the earth and give it due respect, realizing that we are only able to live because of these very same elements and that we are to live in respect and cooperation with them.
The Ancients knew it too, that we can only live because of the grace and power of Nature and natural forces. It’s not a coincidence that those early civilizations took the elements and transformed them into gods and goddesses.

Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, the gods of the sky, oceans and the underworld respectively

from “Freedom in the Grace of the World”
“The beauty and tranquility of the old-growth forests, the vistas that stretch for miles over unbroken treetops, the waterfalls and rivers, the severance from the noise and electronic hallucinations of modern existence, becomes, if you stay out long enough, a balm to wounds. It is in solitude, contemplation and a connection with nature that we transcend the frenzied and desperate existence imposed upon us by the distortions of a commodity culture….Nature always extracts justice. Defy nature and it obliterates the human species. The more we divorce ourselves from nature, the more we permit the natural world to be exploited and polluted by corporations for profit, the more estranged we become from the essence of life. Corporate systems, which grow our food and ship it across country in trucks, which drill deep into the ocean to extract diminishing fossil fuels and send container ships to bring us piles of electronics and cloths from China, have created fragile, unsustainable man-made infrastructures that will collapse. Corporations have, at the same time, destroyed sustainable local communities. We do not know how to grow our own food. We do not know how to make our own clothes. We are helpless appendages of the corporate state. We are fooled by virtual mirages into mistaking the busy, corporate hives of human activity and the salacious images and gossip that clog our minds as real. The natural world, the real world, on which our life depends, is walled off from view as it is systematically slaughtered. 
Year after year I returned to these forbidding peaks from conflicts in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. I brought with me the stench of death, the cries of the wounded, the bloated bodies on the side of the road, the fear, the paranoia, the alienation, the insomnia, the anger and the despair and threw it at these mountains. I strapped my pack on in the pounding rain at trailheads and drove myself, and later my son, up mountains. I rarely stopped. I go to the mountains to at once spend this fury and seek renewal, to be reminded of my tiny, insignificant place in the universe and to confront mystery.”
The mystical American poet, Wendell Berry wrote in  “The Peace of Wild Things”:

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of  grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Categories: Ascension, Pop culture, Raise your EQ, Shift of the Ages effects, Travels | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Mother Nature is the best healer there is

  1. Wonderful writing and reading…thank you.

  2. This was a beautiful post – obviously a result of getting back in touch with nature – the real world. That article by Chris Hedges was also wonderful. It seems to me that Thoreau, Emerson, Walt Whitman and a few other 19th century American Transcendentalists (as they’ve been labeled) told us everything we need to know. I recently reread Emerson’s On Self Reliance and it is spookily relevant today. These lines from Song of Myself have been with me since I read them in college something like 45 years ago:

    And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,
    And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,
    And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers,
    And that a kelson of the creation is love,

    William James, sometimes called the father of modern psychology, was fiercely opposed to the American invasion of the Philippines.

    What did we learn from them? Apparently nothing. At least not as a society. I guess it’s a drama that has to be played out until its tragic end.

    • The New England Trancendentalists were fiercely against war and were mocked for the longest time because they were also against slavery, particularly Thoreau and Emerson. Even now in the “Confederate South” Thoreau is spoken of with disgust.
      This group was also heavily influenced by Hindu writings and scripture, especially Emerson and Whitman. I’m starting to think that human beings are evolutionary freaks. No other species deliberately plans the complete wipe-out and planned murder of other members of it’s species. No other species destroys the very habitat it needs to live in. No other species acts as predators on their own female and infant members. George Carlin pointed it out,albeit in very acidic terms and not poetic ones:

  3. searchingforfernando

    Thoreau also went to jail for refusing to pay taxes to support the Mexican- American War, and wrote his famous essay Civil Disobedience. Not everyone was jumping on the Manifest Destiny bandwagon back then, but the victors write the history. I just heard an interview of a man who was in grade school when the United States occupied Japan, and he said that the first thing the Americans did before schools re-opened after the end of the war, was to insist on all the Japanese history text books be changed to the official American line.

  4. searchingforfernando

    I ran across two quotes yesterday that I thought would fit well here. The first is William Toney reminiscing about crossing the plains in a covered wagon. Changing his attitude at an early age seems to have been a healthy choice for Mr. Toney because he lived past the age of 95 at a time when most men didn’t make it to 65 :

    “When we started from St. Joe in 1847, we organized as a military company. We busted up within a week. Pretty nearly everyone in the company had a different notin of what we ought to do and who should be officers. For example, Henderson Luelling said he didn’t start across the plains to kill Indians or to learn army tactics. He was a sort of Quaker and believed in doing to others as he would be done by. He believed that if we treated the Indians fairly they wouldn’t bother us. You know, I have about come to that conclusion myself. Away back in 1854 I decided that from that time on I was going to treat people the way I wanted them to treat me, and, surprising as it may seem, it works.”

    The following is from a letter Delazon Smith wrote to calm his brother’s worries, after his brother had been reading about Indian wars in the West. we can see from this that the American propaganda machine was going strong in 1854, and as always, witnesses to the actual events were telling other stories:

    “The Indian war you allude to as having occurred in Oregon was in the Rogue River Valley more than 200 miles south of my residence. We cannot realize that we are in an Indian country, and do not live in any more fear of them than you do in Illinois. There are idle, roving desperate men and miners who like no better ‘fun’ or ‘pastime’ than to shoot Indians. The race of red men upon this coast will soon be extinct. God pity them!”

    The stratigy of the Power Elite is to demonize the people who’s land and resources they want to usurp. The same ploy they used in 1854, they use today. Why change your modus operandi when it works so well?

    • Thanks so much for those quotes. They should be spread widely as an antidote to the John Wayne image of the Wild West that’s been forced down our throats. The fact that these obscure letters have survived and are still read by at least a few people makes it clear that even those of us who have equally obscure internet presences (I’m thinking about myself here) can make a difference. I’ll be sharing this and highly recommend that others do, too.

    • It’s still happening SFF. Australian Aborigines were considered “wildlife” in the law books until the mid 1970s. The Native American War Dance and The Ghost Dance are still outlawed in several states. While in the “New World” of the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to a certain extent, the Europeans were almost successful in purging and annilhilating their native populations, the West has now exported these tactics to the Middle East and particularly Palestine.
      Demonize, kill, destroy, make life impossible for those living on the land you want. Use every means nescessary, the media, the military, the think tanks, the universities, doesn’t matter, it’s us vs. them. You’ve got to take all you can because as a white man, it’s your God-given right, your duty to civilize these savages. Hugo Chavez and Morales of Bolivia are two world leaders who actually have Native blood in them and have championed the rights of indigenous peoples. Not surprising that Washington, Madrid and London all demonize them regularly. I’m convinced Chavez’s cancer is induced and is the result of some CIA plot.
      A John Wayne could only come about and become as popular as he was if there was a cultural context that supported such a world view. (For the record, I hate his movies and might explain why I dislike Western films. Ditto Clint Eastwood).
      My question is what happens when the land, the air, the sun, the stars, the animal world and plants all finally start to protest in their own way and stop giving anything back? Then what?

  5. searchingforfernando

    I love old movies, but like you I dislike Westerns. And I also believe that Chavez’s cancer was induced, him being just one in many whom “they” have marked for death.

    Thanks, Rob. I was hoping that others would find the quotes as important as I did and perhaps spread them around. I felt compelled to share them on a website that gets a lot of traffic. I believe that if the written word is important enough, it will stand the test of time, and eventually will be read by the people who need to read it. I came to this belief years ago after I read ANDERSONVILLE DIARY. I marveled at how words scribbled on scrapes of paper, could reach more than a hundred years into the future and move me to tears.That the diary survived is even more miraculous, because the author (John Ransom) was unconscious (due to illness) when Andersonville was liquidated, and all the men were moved to another camp. It was only saved because a fellow prisoner (an Indian man fighting on the Union side, by the way) realized the importance of the diary, smuggled it out, and returned it to Ransom. I always felt that this had to be due to divine intervention. I was so moved by John Ransom’s words, that five years later I visited Andersonville Historic Site. Words really do have the power to move mountains.

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