Where the Natural and Human Worlds Meet

Okay.  As a wild thing myself, I’m an unreserved, unabashed lover of the natural world.  Always have been.  Since my earliest memories (and even before that according to my mother) I’ve gone to the trees, the rocks, and the waters…the storms and the stars…whenever I was confused or unraveling.  I’m not sure why exactly.  It’s just where I felt better.

My relationship with the human world, however, has been more complicated.  Initially, I was pretty enthusiastic about us.  But then hard things happened and I went through a middle phase, struggling with some disillusionment and bitterness before finally, during the hospice years, finding my way back to a vision of people that’s good.

Again…I have so much to be grateful for, to the dying who let me be with them.

Then this morning, I watched a trailer for BBC One Human Planet (I know, it’s been out forever and you’ve probably seen it already but still, wow.  I mean really, wow…) and visually it seemed to pull together the love I now hold for both worlds in one beautiful, jaw-dropping, mosaic of cinematography.

Which is a powerful…not to mention valuable…thing to do.  I don’t think I’m the only one that views the human and natural worlds as distinct.  First, the industrial age and next, the technological/information one have been terrific for shielding us from the cosmic brunt of natural forces, but in the process they’ve separated us from them, too.

Modern homes are now designed to cut us off as much as possible from fluctuations in just about everything–temperature, wind, light, smells, noise, wildlife, microbes, radiation, crime, neighbors–while our cars strive to prevent us from feeling like we’re even touching the ground.  Somewhere along the line we all agreed on what was the safest, most comfortable environment, and then we built it into everywhere we were likely to spend time; homes, office buildings, vehicles, planes, ships, hotels, malls, banks, airports, restaurants so that, if we wanted to, we could now live sans contact with most of the natural world, most of the time.  And some people do.  Did you know that roughly 80% of people in the U.S. have never seen the Milky Way?

We’ve come so far and so much of its good.  But even so, sometimes I feel like I’m living in a pillow.  It’s wonderful and amazing and safe, for sure, but it also feels like I can’t get quite enough air.

This trailer captures glimpses of some of the non-pillow people all over the world–wild people still living in wild places.  The ones who haven’t been separated into our modern, second world yet.  They’re still creating a lot of their miracles without technology…and I forgot how inspiring and amazing those kinds of miracles are, too.  With as hard as their lives must be in some ways, I’ll bet at least they have plenty of air to breathe, every day.  I wish there was some way to weave these two worlds together again.  It’s hard always feeling like I have to make a choice.

The video is 3:20 minutes long but you’d never know it.  And please…you have to watch it full screen.  (In the name of all that’s good and right, you have to.)  For those who don’t know what that means, look down in the bottom right hand corner of the video box below and click the four arrows pointing in different directions.   The video box will expand to fill your entire computer screen.  Then just buckle your seat belt, click play, and you’re good to go.  Oh…and if you want to see the actual series, I found the DVDs on Netflix.  I imagine they might be available other places as well.

copyright Dia Osborn 2011

8 responses

  1. Hi, I will watch this. I understand what you say about how we humans have separated ourselves from our ‘true nature’. Yes, some of the modern things are great but it is absolutely necessary to not get lost from our past. Thanks for this.

    • Hey Jim–I swung by your blog (love it btw…really) and tried to leave a comment but I’m not sure it “took”. So I thought I’d leave it here in case it didn’t, and you came back by. This is about your revenge post. Great one!
      “Perhaps there’s both constructive and destructive revenge. The action you took made just about everyone in the world except the lady better off. Sweet.
      I love the way you surround your writing with these exquisite photographs, and the tinkling in the background is very soothing. It creates a larger, calmer context for some potentially heated subjects (revenge, politics, etc.) I wonder if creating this kind of environment would help in Congress, Parliament, and the U.N.?”
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Good morning Dia,
    Studies have shown that the majority of us acutally despise our own species. We see ourselves (as a species) as the “cancer upon the planet”. Imagine that…we are the only species in existence that despises itself. And that underlying context tears at the fabric of persoanl relationships and our societies and culture. For example…how can I really love you, yet secretly despise the speicies you are one of!
    So, thank you for this post and that video. It will take experiences and knowledge like this to turn the tide, and help people fall in love with our own species. To fall madly in love with our own kind. 🙂

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  4. Wow! What a sensational video–makes even me (in my comfortable hibernation behind triple paned glass . . . sigh) feel good to be alive and part of this remarkable species. Your comments are very interesting about the natural world and the human world. Of course, there is just one world. We are nature and Nature ‘R’ Us! Thanks for sharing this.

    • I know…there is just one world and our homes and cars and technology are as much a part of it as mountains and wind and bugs. But they can still lead to an experience of being cut off, which we notice as soon as we step off the plane or out of the revolving door and feel wind and sunlight on our faces again. Instinctively, the first thing we do is take a deep breath. Perhaps it’s a matter of perspective–within the man made world everything seems smaller and more focused. Then I climb out under the sky at night and look up at the stars and my perspective becomes vast and ancient.
      Although come to think of it, I also used to experience that vast-thing in the homes of the dying…

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