“Motherless children have a hard time… Motherless children have a hard time…
Motherless children have a hard time… when their mother's dead.
Nobody love you like your mother can… when your mother's dead.”
- Blind Willie Johnson
In 2005, author Richard Louv published a remarkable book entitled: Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. The book focuses on the diminishing opportunities that American kids have to explore and commune with Mother Nature. In his book, he examines research and concludes that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults.
He describes our kid’s lost opportunity in clinical terms and coined the term: nature-deficit disorder. Here is a quote from his website:
“In this influential work about the staggering divide between children and the outdoors, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today's wired generation—he calls it nature-deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression.”
Having spent a good deal of my life ranging around the magnificent temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, I not only agree with Louv’s premise, I would take it one small step further. Our connection to Mother Nature… Mother Earth... Gaia… our connection to the natural world is indispensable in our physical and spiritual development. Like an umbilical cord, it is our lifeline to survival as a species. The following is from an article appearing on the website Core Spirit, entitled: The Spiritual and Mental Benefits of Forests...
“There are powerful benefits to spending time in forests. Various studies have shown that simply walking within a beautiful forest setting in a mindful state, or doing exercise in the woods, reduces stress and enhances the sense of well-being. However, forests fulfill a much bigger role than simply that of a buffer for modern-day stress; they also enhance our spirituality, by providing the backdrop against which we project the ‘basic patterns’ of our psyches.”
From my experience, it is clear that we are inseparable… indistinguishable… from the Earth. As the great Tek-Gnostic saint, John Lennon once said: “I am he as you are she as you are me and we are all together.” In our collective self-absorption, we are not seeing the forest, for the trees. In our time of sociological upheaval, we just might be missing the critical warning signs of environmental catastrophe. Mother Earth is trying to tell us something. Do we have the wisdom to hear?