Why are we scared of Forests?

I was prompted to write this now after a person from Co. Cork wrote to me suggesting that centres are needed to be created to bring people together, including planning walks in the forests.

Have we not had these for hundred of years?

I think they are called churches, and then there are the village halls, and urban community halls, and I suppose we can include pubs as it seems churches get more people and more plans together within pub saloons than within the churches and church property.

Now people have ideas that they can serve something better in their buildings than from any of these community facilities.

I have had all kinds of messages from people about meetings they have in buildings where they 'plan' their walks in the woods. To me that reads as something similar to the situation in Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy where a spaceship crashed onto a new earth like planet. The spaceship was full of bank managers and sanitation inspectors who held a stream of meetings and sub meetings to discuss and decide what to do with their situation.

Our quest to connect

It seems our human race has become dependent and obsessed with our abilities to build structures to separate and disconnect us from being part of the rest of nature, to somehow demonstrate we are superior to  the rest of what is 'nature'

Within these buildings we head off into rituals, meditations, dances and chants as an attempt to re-connect with the 'nature' we have separated ourselves from, usually in exchange for a fee or donation.

After reading this morning's message from a "lets have a meeting to plan going to the woods" person from Cork, I went on to read another excellent poem by Thomas Carty, "In The Shadow Of Cairn Hill" where he communicates the importance of sustaining and passing on our memories.

Rule of the brute

Within his poem Thomas mentions about today's "rule of the brute". Well, I do not think it was much different at the time of the cairn builders, really. Why were only a few 'heroes' entombed in high cairns built from the labour of many. Where did those "many" go? ... Perhaps things are not much different today as they were back then.

Those big stone cairns, some remaining as remains today, that eventually became tombs, are often in places where forests once were. Forests were cleared to build many of these giant cairns and by doing so life leached from the soil. Again is this not much different to today.

Back then, as today,  It seem to have been the start of our loss of connection to the rest of nature and we have become dependent on human created buildings and structures to express ourselves, express our dominance over the rest of nature.

Its as if we cannot make a decision together unless we are within a building we have created. To me big stone ancient cairns are a reminder of what we have become ... a detachment from the rest of nature that leaves no trace, no monuments ... but memories that are still there for us to take up again and share.

Forest is where the rest of nature is perhaps most abundant. Of course, also untouched is the sea, wetlands, swamps, prairies and tundras but the forest appears to be the true majority surface that should be of this earth ... but not today, of course. Our stones, bricks and concrete has replaced most of it ... and now we find it harder to breath, we get congestion, allergies, and are tired much more.

So what are we really afraid of? 

Some people tell of me of their forest fears of bears, wild cats, snakes, venomous spiders, disease carrying insects, and even where rapists and murderers lurk.

Fortunately, the forests of Ireland has none of that, and time spent in a house is more likely to be a place of accident, poison and attack by a rapist or murderer than the same time in a forest. It seems walking on concrete is probably more statistically dangerous that walking a muddy path in a woodland.

I love picnics, they really do connect us 

I love the picnic we share on our Woodland Walks.

The sharing, the conversation, the ideas, the inspiration, the creativity is much sharper and more in tune that anything I hear or is shared within a human created building.

There are several education reports out and about stating how children are more alert and participating with their teachers when outside than inside a building.

Being in the forests, with our picnic, I feel all senses are charged and in unison. We are not seperated from the rest of nature so it can also join in as its voices through our senses, and listens and responds too.

Do we really need to have indoor meetings?

Do we need to have meetings to discuss how and why we go to the woods?

Do we need to be in a building to call upon our connection to nature, which I find is a bit David Bowie and Major Tom

For here
am I sitting in my tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do

How about having our 'meetings' in the forests at the picnic tables.
Its an amazing starting point for many things.
Its a neutral place, ownership not obvious
and a place where we can all speak, share and listen as equals
with much more freedom than within any building created by humans.

click here for the current list of walks and picnics in the woods
so please do join them and add more walks dates to them.


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