There was a period of time when I forgot how much I crave time with nature. The desire, however, expressed itself through consumerism. It was several years after moving to a city, working in another city, I wasn't getting outdoors much and I'd yet to reignite my joy of puttering in a garden. One day in a big box store it occurred to me how I often I was drawn to bird houses, things with floral prints and the like. Now, there's nothing wrong with bird houses and floral prints but for me at the moment I realized I was trying to purchase nature experience. Since then daily encounters are embraced: those moments in the garden when a new flowering bush has started to bud, enjoying the site of a tiny toad, feeling the ocean water hold me up or push me sideways, listening to a bird on the utility wire above. What a loop I'd been in: missing out on an important aspect of life experience, seeking it elsewhere, that elsewhere is destructive to what is treasured both in manufacture on one end and on the other, the time needed on my part to earn money in order to fill the gap. Now that's a sequence I can do without.
The Adirondack Park in New York is an extraordinary effort of mixing private land use, much of it subject to rules and restrictions, along with vast tracks of preservation. It's history holds a bit of ugliness in the struggle to find balance between lowered human impact and property rights. An imperfect arrangement of legislation in some ways, the spirit of the idea has endured since the late 19th Century, it is a gorgeous place. As barely part-time residents, my husband and I assure those who've always lived within "the blue line" (the park boundary) there is much to be appreciated. Everything has it's pros and cons. Everything.
My husband had been with a friend and his child on our local beach. The child expressed being bored to which the father said, "Do you realize people work long hours all year in order to save up the money and vacation time to come here for just a week? And that's if they're lucky." I'm not sure what happened after that but it wouldn't be a stretch to assume the child eventually found something to be amazed with in the sand dunes or at the shoreline. This story is a reminder to start where you are.
It may not be necessary, but maybe it is, to launch big legislation or battle over the preservation of a park. There are small opportunities everywhere, if one values the connection with nature.