Developing environmental awareness

Beat poet Gary Snyder captures the way we develop environmental awareness through first hand experience:

Ah to be alive
on a mid-september morn
fording a stream
barefoot, pants rolled up,
holding boots. pack on
sunshine, ice in the shallows,
northern rockies

Rustle and shimmer of icy creek waters
stones turn underfoot, small and hard as toes
cold nose dripping
singing inside
creek music, heart music,
smell of sun on gravel.

I pledge allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the soil
of Turtle Island
and to the beings who thereon dwell
one ecosystem
in diversity
under the sun
with joyful interpenetration for all

Gary Snyder
Etiquette of Freedom

Snyder is both a poet and a Buddhist, he proposes that time spent outside, experiencing natural phenomenon, is of itself a type of meditation. He call this The Practice of the Wild. Nature becomes a guide and a teacher. Every time we are outside we are given the opportunity to observe and experience life more fully. The complexity of the sensorial experiences outside opens our senses and tunes our ability to observe. We can ‘practice’ somewhere remote, or simply outside. All we need to do it rise to the occasion by adding consciousness.

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