>continued from previous page
You emphasize the necessity to embrace our own experience and the importance of this in a culture “neurotically obsessed with meaning.” Could you expand on some of your own experiences in these scenes? What memories or feelings do they evoke? Is there any in particular that attaches to a specific anecdote?
As a child, I spent every summer in the country. Those days of simply hanging out with friends on a sand bank of a winding brown river, searching for bugs, picking wild strawberries in the flower fields, or foraging for mushrooms in the forest are etched in my mind--full of colors, sounds and sensations. By contrast, the rest of my childhood, though spent in the architecturally beautiful city of St. Petersburg, Russia, exists in my memory as a monotony of grey dreariness. This makes me ponder the incredible value of “pointless” unstructured time spent simply being present to nature and to oneself.
It is usually easy for me to reconnect to these childhood states when I find myself in nature, though it doesn't happen everywhere. When I lived in Alberta, I found the Eastern face of the Canadian Rockies foreboding. In those years, I often traveled to the Pacific side of the mountains to find places where I could feel at home. There is one town in British Columbia where my husband and I spent days wading the river as if we were children. The river has amazing sculptural rocks, some of which I managed to bring with me across the border to the United States.
I found it easy to connect to the Arizona desert, the Utah parks, Acadia National Park in Maine and to the Delaware Gap area. I can't explain why, and I don’t think it is important to try to do so.
continues on next page>