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Greetings dear friends & fellow navigators, welcome to my world this week. One of the most common findings by researchers interested in human well-being is one where submerging
ourselves in nature does us good. This should be obvious however, evidently it is not obvious,or at least the importance of nature for our thriving is not well understood. For if it was, we
would spend much less of our time clumped together in big cities, sucking smog. Or, given a break from work, we would lose the phone & flee to the nearest park.

It is uncontroversial to say nature makes us happy. Being in nature has been shown to boost our working memory, attention, mental flexibility & problem-solving. Shinrin-yoku (‘forest-bathing’) is resting on the notion, where to be among trees is to be less stressed & happier, & to strengthen the immune system. 1 The common claim is the more we lose ourselves in nature the better we feel. Researchers say connection to nature, can be a substitute for connecting to people: those who live near green spaces are less lonely & have a stronger sense of
community than their peers in built-up areas. 2

Yet long before we could justify our fondness for nature with scientific research, its meaning & importance to us was understood well. We are drawn not to the farmer & his cows in the
foreground, but the mountains rising above the lake behind, the splendour increased by the mist hanging above the water.

The Japanese love nature so deeply it is one of the most lasting parts of the national character. Some still believe pine trees to be holy, & often their festivals & holidays centre on
natural change, like the coming of cherry blossom. Traditionally, nature is the subject of haiku poetry, with Bashō’s ‘The Old Pond’, being the best-known example. 3
Our shared love of nature is reflected in more unusual, less obvious ways. One of the more interesting findings of researchers is the kind of architecture we tend to find attractive evokes
the natural world. While enhancement & use of ornamentation calls to mind fruit hanging from trees & so the presence of edible food, which soothes us.

They persuasively show there is such a thing as beauty, & it can be feature of the architecture we love. Some buildings make use of natural light, so producing a dramatic, dynamic
environment & this changes with the time of day & the weather.

However much we try to forget it, we do not stand outside of nature. We are nature. We are as much ‘nature’ as a lake or a tree stump or a mountain range or a cloud. The word
‘environment’ puts us at the centre of things, & nature which is around us. It is more common of us to combine natural materials in such a way as to put a wall between ourselves & the
kind of natural setting in which we feel at home.

To connect to nature is to connect to ourselves. And more: it is to connect to our nature, not as plunderers of the natural world but as growth in its great green network with the capacity, & therefore duty, to steward it.

Just few observations again dear friends, & provide merely an opinion in my world. Thank you again for stopping by, I appreciate your being here. If my journey encourages you also, all is well with my soul. I hope your days are filled with love & affection. Looking forward to being back next week; this is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson with best wishes.

1 From Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine are provided here courtesy of The Japanese Society for Hygiene,%2C%20taste%2C%20smell%20and%20touch.
2International Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 51, Issue 1, February 2022
3 ’The old pond / A frog jumps in / the sound of water’ ~ A frog jumps into the pond, splash! Silence again. … There is the old pond! Lo, into it jumps a frog: hark, waters’ music! The old pond seems to be a symbol of the subconscious mind. It is there inside everyone. Like the old pond, it exists in silence. Moreover, the poet refers to the subconscious mind of an old person.

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