Nature: Nurturing Imagination and Spirit in Everyday Life
By Patrice Vecchione
If you go out into a meadow or stand under the sun in the plaza, even with only a few trees around and a dozen blades of grass, marvel at the bowl of sky beneath which you stand and allow yourself to wonder at the all of it, the abundant, simple beauty of wind ruffling through tree leaves. Do this a few times and you might notice a change come over you, perhaps a subtle change at first, but one that may have startling ripple effects over time.
Step into Nature: Nurturing
Imagination and Spirit
By Patrice Vecchione
Fri, Mar 18, 4:30—6pm
Garrison & Garrison
Plaza Artesanal Bicentenario
That’s what happened to me. I was a distance bicyclist who, due to an injury, could no longer ride, so instead of going to a gym to exercise, I took to walking in the natural world where, it turns out, I got far more than an elevated heart rate and strong muscles.
Nature began working on me; she began nudging my imagination, slowly at first, and then not slowly at all. The trees whispered ideas for poems; the wind suggested collage possibilities. Not literally, though some days, I tell you, wind sounds like an old man who’s traveled a long way, while on other days the wind has the playfulness of a toddler with plenty to say.
My imagination’s rejuvenation was the result of having physical space around me that was not dominated by commerce and highways and the cacophony of human sound. Being away from daily responsibilities for an hour or so gave my mind freedom to wander, to make connections between one thing and another that would have slipped by unnoticed if I were focused on my to-do list. Faith in my imagination was restored by nature’s vitality and my spirit was strengthened.
And I didn’t have to go to the Grand Canyon or the Mojave Desert; I went to my neighborhood parks—one just a walk around a pond and the other with ten miles of trails—but nothing fancy, just trees and sky and fresh air, squirrels, and blue jays.
The Mexican poet Octavio Paz said, “The work of art is always unfaithful to its creator … Art lies at a higher level; it says something more, and almost always, it says something different from what the artist wanted to say.” That’s my favorite thing about art-making, be it visual art or writing. The process of creativity surpasses the intellect. When available to the universe, the imagination draws a bit from over there and another bit from over here, and we are able to make connections we otherwise wouldn’t.
Time in nature frees me so much that nearly my entire new book, Step into Nature: Nurturing Imagination and Spirit, was written outdoors; the first drafts came to me while walking. At first I pulled the pen I always carry from my back pocket and took notes on my hand, then up my arm, and later in a notebook. I’d walk a bit, listen to the wind, notice the churning of my imagination, stop to write. Then I’d walk some more, head, home and transcribe my notes. Six months later a book had been written. A year later it found itself within a book jacket.