Yesterday was the first sunburn of the season, gained walking, cycling and photographing before the thunderstorms set in. I’m very fair, and I know I shouldn’t go out without sunblock and I should limit my UV exposure and all those other skin-cancer prevention strategies, but I can’t help it; in the face of a sunny day with everything budding and blooming, I crumble. (Keep in mind, too, that I’m allergic to anything with fur, feathers, pollen or spores, so that one might expect I would be the last person to spend time outside; instead I’m outside whenever I can possibly manage it.)
The trilliums are just shy of blooming. I give them another week before the flowers are open. Bloodroot was everywhere a week ago; I didn’t see much of it this weekend, though. Is it over already? The trout lilies were wide open, bent back, and will be going to seed soon.
It’s not that I’m opposed to creature comforts (as I sit here on the couch in my pajamas with my laptop), but outside, oddly, is home.
All right, I’m strange. No matter how much you enjoy the outdoors, you probably feel more at home on your sofa than in the woods. But studies in environmental psychology repeatedly show the benefits to people of exposure to non-human nature. Those who are ill recover faster in a room with a view of a tree. A forty-minute walk in a natural setting is more restorative than a similar walk in an urban setting. No matter how we try to separate civilization from nature, the former remains entirely a subset of the latter; no matter how much we pretend to be separate, humans are still animals.
So why are so few of us nature-lovers? How can we so easily accept intellectually an idea–the separation of humans from the rest of the world–entirely at odds with fact and with our health? You’d think that getting people to fall in love with nature would be easy.