A few years ago I needed new brakes installed on my truck. It was going to take a couple of hours so after dropping off the truck I walked down the street to a nearby coffee shop. As I walked along, I realized I was not in direct contact with the earth for that four-block walk. I was always on concrete or asphalt, never touching the earth. It also involved car exhaust, pedestrian lights and unnatural noises. Any and all plants around me were placed there by the designer. It caused me to wonder how much we have lost touch with nature?
Most of us know about our National Parks but many of us take our natural areas for granted and in some cases don’t even realize they exit. We are lucky to have these places of wonder and beauty to explore and take in. Yet, many of us make plans to watch a movie on the new 54 inch HD screen, or meet up with friends to pound down a few micro-brews, or play a game on our computer or Game-boy or work on a project we brought home from the office. I’ve spent my time doing all of them. It just seems to me our society has moved away from nature, placing ourselves in heated and air-conditioned buildings, our own created worlds?
I’m lucky to have the Metro Parks near my apartment here in the Columbus area. In 15 minutes I can be walking the trails of Blendon Woods Park or enjoying the flowers along the paths in Inniswood Gardens. They never seem to be crowded. I’m surprised how many people I meet walking or jogging the paths in our natural areas are plugged in and tuned in to their favorite music while missing the Meadowlark singing it’s distinct call, or the woodpecker hammering away on it’s favorite tree, or the chirping of the squirrels as they play their games of tag or the wind whispering through the trees.
I like to spend time on a bench along one of the trails to listen and watch nature. I only have one channel to select from and the reception is excellent. The concerns of work, bills, wars, taxes, oil spills, all seem far away and in another world. I enjoy the natural areas near my apartment and, as some of you already know, I use them often to step away from the busy world. And another question that often comes to mind is: what would it have been like 200-300 years ago when there were no paths or concrete or asphalt?