Slow Nature is catching on fast.
“Slow” Movements are really popular right now: Slow Food, Slow Fashion, Slow Parenting, and many more.
Now, there’s Slow Nature. (It’s about time, right?)
Slow Nature isn’t claiming there’s anything wrong with speeding through a forest or natural area. It’s fun to sail through a forest canopy on a zipline, hurtle over obstacles on a mountain bike, or run really fast on a trail. You get your exercise and your nature-fix all in one brisk outing. It’s like killing two birds with one stone.
But, when you speed, you miss so much.
And in places where wild nature is scarce, it makes sense to reserve natural areas for, well, nature.
Connecting with nature in a meaningful way is the idea behind Slow Nature.
There are whole worlds in the layers of a forest, from gazillions of tiny microbes in the soil, to the massive, centuries-old cedars, hemlocks, and Douglas firs. But, you don’t need a pristine old-growth forest to practice Slow Nature. Most any natural area will do, even ones that have already suffered from invasive species. Slow Nature is not about pristine, it is about recognizing our fellow living beings: plants, animals, insects, and everything in between.
Connecting with nature happens when you slow down and look closely…
These tiny mushrooms were only about the size of a quarter. I have no idea what they are. Maybe I’ll invent a name. Knobby Puffballs.
You don’t need to be an expert. You don’t need to know anything at all…just how to put one foot in front of the other and to keep your eyes open.
A trio of life on a fallen log: fungus, moss, and lichen. You can’t compose a more interesting design that this!
I found these tiny mushrooms huddled together like they were waiting for a bus in the rain. Hidden in the soil lives the mysterious fungus—the non-plant, non-animal being that sends up these “fruiting bodies” when it’s time to reproduce. Wikipedia tells me fungi are genetically closer to animals than plants.
Something to consider if you’re a vegetarian, I suppose.
Springtime is my favorite time in the forest—I love the joyful unfurling of the ferns. They make such cool spiral shapes. I’d love to see a time-lapse of this. Reminds me of those things you blow on New Years Eve.
There is even a lot to appreciate in the beautiful, sharp-tempered nettle. Look, but don’t get too close—she is covered with tiny, chemical-filled stinging needles. What a brilliant defense mechanism against nibblers! But, if you cook them, nettles are delicious—the needles lose their sting. I wonder how long it would take nettles to evolve cook-proof needles?
Next time you get stung by a nettle, try this: Find a sword fern with sori—the spots with the spores. Rub the spores gently into the sting. Voila! Pain gone.
Practicing Slow Nature, you will sometimes see magnificent things that take your breath away…
Aaaah. Cue soaring background music…
Other times, you’ll see more humble things—or even those considered “bad” for one reason or another. But, aren’t they wonderful in their own way…if you look closely?
Hey! Where’s MY background music?
Connecting with nature is best done slowly.
You don’t need expensive equipment, just a good pair of walking shoes, and a good attitude. You can be any age, background, or income level. Slow Nature is fun, healthy, and essential for well-being.
Plus, slowly and quietly, you’ll have a much better chance of seeing wildlife, too. (I’ll save that for a future post).
But, one thing I can guarantee you will NOT see…
Forests—and natural areas in general—are no more dangerous than pretty much anywhere else. Even natural areas in cities. Especially in cities. If you need convincing, check your local crime/accident statistics. The real ones—not the hyped-up ones.
Join the Slow Nature Movement today!
Learn More About the Slow Nature Movement
(This is all there is so far – I just started it)
but…it wouldn’t be a movement without a Facebook Page – so I just started one. You can “Like” the page to keep up with new developments as they happen.
Help us preserve natural areas and greenspaces in Seattle.
Seattle Nature Alliance (join by “liking” our Page)
Read and Be Inspired
The Urban Bestiary, by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
River-Walking Songbirds & Singing Coyotes, by Patricia K. Lichen
The Hidden Forest, by Jon R. Luoma
And yes…those are all photos, taken with my trusty ipod-touch and fluffed-up in Photoshop. Photos from forests in Seattle Park forests, and on the Olympic Peninsula.
You might also like:
Primordial Valentine – a video I made while spying on some sword ferns reproducing
Old Growth Forests – why I’m a forest creature
Forest Bath – another way to walk in nature
Forest Fright – To be afraid, or not to be?
Please leave your thoughts in a reply! I love hearing from you!