Courting the wild–spending one to two hours each day in nature–is the author’s suggestion for how to remain sane and grounded in a stressful world; as a way to continually expand our compassion for all life. He suggest that by courting the wild we might be influenced by a beautiful and powerful force that moves us to live according to our values and visions. We can do this by finding our own “secret spot” as a place to begin learning about nature.
There is a magical, wild place near your home, accessible by foot, pedal, or bus; an undomesticated corner passed over and for now forgotten, where you can take time regularly to learn from nature. What draws your attention? Court the wild with these ideas to help you find and experience your secret spot:
The idea is this: you locate a spot in nature that invites you in. Then you return for an hour each day for a year. It is best if the spot is close to home so you can cycle or walk there. Are you wondering, “What am I going to do for an hour in the same spot every day?”
You can sit quietly and observe what’s going on. Your hearing or sense of smell might heighten if you close your eyes. Try taking ten minutes to focus on each sense: sounds, sights, smells, touch and intuition.
While you sit quietly, what birds come in? What animal tracks, webs or feathers arrived since yesterday? What interactions between species do you notice? How do you feel in relation to this place? Maybe you want to let go of thoughts, plans, and worries and remain present to each passing moment.
You can keep a journal, write poems and stories, or make detailed observations. Draw a map of a 20’ by 20’ area; learn every plant and animal there.
Adapted from Radical Simplicity, by Jim Merkel (New Society Publishers, 2003). Copyright (c) 2003 by Jim Merkel. Reprinted by permission of New Society Publishers.
Adapted from Radical Simplicity, by Jim Merkel (New Society Publishers, 2003).