by Bill Hutchins, AIA, principal of Helicon Works, an ecologically responsive architecture and building collaborative
We don’t need to be naturalists or biologists or mountain trekkers to open to our fullest, most innate self. We can live in the city or a hut in the woods—our situation isn’t important. What matters is our intention to revere and take our place within our ecosystem—the relationships of our family and community and natural world. To name a few ways:
• We can look at the moon at night and expand our mind to seeing the moon’s shape a result of the interplay of the sun and earth—the moonlight is the child of their interaction.
• We can wake up in the morning as our body tells us, open our eyes to the sky and changing leaves and birds on their early chores and ponder our own thoughts.
• We can walk down a city street and watch the complex interplay of shades and shadows and reflections off glass buildings—all set into motion from a star millions of miles away.
• We can enjoy the wisdom and yearnings of our bodies by listening to what it asks for rather than what our doctor tells us is good for us.
• We can consider our homes vessels that puts us in a more intimate relationship with the world around us, rather than a hermetically sealed capsule consuming vast quantities of energy to fend off the elements around us.
• We can reflect on the rivers which run through our lives and consider how they connect us to worlds up and down stream. We can ponder how a myriad of life is given focus by those waters and shores—how is a network of rivers different than our city streets?
• We can watch a plane in flight and understand it is an imitation of nature’s flying creatures—we did not create flight—while giving us a common purpose.
• We can befriend a stray cat, feeding it daily and developing its trust and slowly learn to share the same space.
• We can sit on our porch and notice how the robins fly to a decoy spot with a meal for their chicks, sit there observant of all life around, only to go to their nest when they know it’s completely safe.
• We can experience a loved one’s death as a beautiful and profound experience—our greatest awakening and way to surrender to nature’s calling—rather than hiding their bodies in the bowels of a funeral home pickled with toxic chemicals.
• We can plant a tree, perhaps an oak, as part of our urban forest as part of our surrounding woods as part of what has planted itself for thousands of years in our ecosystem—to one day be food for future woodland-generations and for our great grandchildren’s children to play under on a hot summer day.
The ways we can be more deeply engaged with all worlds around us are boundless, as is our imagination.