Warning: Nature May Be Completely Inspiring

Published on July 10th, 2013

19 Comments

Yesterday I stood in the forest surrounded by 46 children, 21 young adults and together we were so quiet we could hear the wind in the trees and each note of a robin’s song. As clouds passed overhead we opened our awareness to our peripheral vision and saw maple trees and shagbark hickories sway while also seeing the weary, smiling faces within our circle.

This is my seventh summer at Wild Earth’s Kestrel Camp and each year I am inspired, challenged and stretched as I show up in the forest with children, teens and adults. For several weeks each summer I spend my days playing, exploring and connecting in the woods with six to ten year olds and an incredible group of instructors.

Imagine if everyone had regular opportunities to connect in nature.

The fire from the sun
Feeds the fire from the trees
Feeds the fire that we light tonight
Song commonly sung at Wild Earth

Imagine children bursting with vitality, singing songs of sun, trees and fire as a group of teens break sweat and create fire using only muscles, wood and friction.

Imagine an 18 year old sharing a story and transporting 66 children and adults to a hot and dry desert where a Bedouin man creates fire with his hands and teaches the skills to locate water.

Imagine starting your day with gratitude and song in a circle diverse in age and experience.

Imagine sitting quietly, watching insects crawl as your attention slowly expands and you notice an oriole flying above carrying strands of grass. Imagine you’re not alone. Imagine that dozens of adults and children also sit quietly across the landscape surrounding you.

Imagine using two sticks to pull a coal from the fire and attentively blowing on the coal as you burn a hole in a piece of red cedar that will become the bowl of a spoon that you will carve.

Imagine playing in clay and mud and grass and getting so dirty that your clothing and skin blend seamlessly into the landscape and you’re able to quietly sneak up on an unsuspecting young adult who’s busy talking with a friend.

Imagine looking to a silver haired elder with reverence as they share a story about coyotes in snow and magical visions.

It’s happening at Wild Earth.

After just two days of Wild Earth summer camp the chatter of my mind has slowed, my heart has grown so much more full, and most remarkable of all – my vision, my relationship to purpose and my impact on the world is clearer than ever.

I am so excited for where Wild Earth is going.

Envision digital detox weekends for adults. Imagine what could fill the voids left by our smartphones!

Envision families cooking dinner over a fire built by teenage girls using no matches, no lighter and tools they carved themselves.

Envision pre-teen boys being greeted by men of many ages, walking into the forest to meet the unknown.

Envision seventh graders singing as they create theater and entertainment for sixth graders in the forest.

Nature has a bounty of gifts and mysteries that everyone deserves.

May this coming year bring more growth, connection and mystery to all of our lives.

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Simon AbramsonSimon AbramsonSimon Abramson,
Associate Director

As a child Simon spent countless hours exploring the forest, streams and wetlands of his neighborhood in NJ. Simon has a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont where he focused on the relationship between a healthy human psyche and a vibrant natural world. He has staffed and studied with various wilderness schools throughout the Northeast including the Institute for Natural Learning, White Pine Programs and the Vermont Wilderness School. When he’s not in the woods, Simon is designing and building websites and other internet solutions. More about Simon's work.

  • Betty Marton

    Beautiful post, Simon.

    • simonabramson

      Thanks Betty!

  • David Brownsteim

    AMEN! I love these visions and am so inspired to be a part in the creation of the full potential of Wild Earth!

    • simonabramson

      Booo ya! This is an incredible project and there are so many great ways to serve! Wild Earth is lucky to have you at the helm. Your humility, devotion and vision are a gift to the world.

  • Zoya

    This is pretty awesome.

    • simonabramson

      Thanks Z! You’ve been a totally uplifting and important part of camp this year. Your Bedouin story was awesome. I hope you get to share more stories within your clan.

  • Motria

    nice!

    • simonabramson

      Thanks Motria. We are so blessed to have so many folks in the Hudson Valley who are chimed into the powerful alchemy of combining children, adults and nature.

  • Sarah Little

    Amazing.

  • Sarah Little

    This is amazing

    • simonabramson

      Thanks Sarah! Your sharing about how camp made you feel totally inspired my to write this. I’m so glad that you chose to be a part of Kestrel Camp and Wild Earth this year!

  • Marsha Abramson

    After reading your posting I had to let you know how your writings allowed my imagination to follow along on your journey; it was actually quite freeing and for the first time in my life I felt no fear nor anxiety from the intensity of being deep within nature…rather I felt immense joy and playfulness!!
    Thank you for that experience. I hope you will keep writing as it was such an enlightening experience, even to a “born city slicker” like me.

    • simonabramson

      Mom, I’m not sure reading this post counts as being “deep within nature!” My hunch is that the anixety you feel in nature would slip away as the forest becomes more familiar and you learn some skills. There is so much mystery, syncronicity, wonder and beauty in the forest. I’m sure you’d love it. I hope you’ll be able to join us for a Wild Earth program someday. Thanks for your kind words. Love, Si

  • jerilyn

    simon.

    this is beautifully articulated. you are capturing in words
    the feeling of a heart cracked wide open — it is inspiring and
    contagious.

    deep bow for your heart and for your work.
    jerilyn

    • simonabramson

      Heart cracked wide open indeed! Earlier today we had a beautiful opening circle complete with improvisational song, friction fire, quiet listening, another incredible story, and a fantastically silly all-camp song and dance. I think we are all regularly amazed by the gifts and beauty that each of our 14-31 year old instructors bring to camp. Thanks for your comment Jerilyn!

  • Seth Breitman

    Simon,
    I’m so thankful for what you have all created for our community.
    And, I can’t wait to have a digital detox!
    Hug,
    Seth

    • simonabramson

      Hi Seth! I hope you and I can get together sometime this summer. Thanks for your comment. What are some components you’d want to see/experience as part of the digital detox?

  • Rebecca Burdett

    How wonderful and inspiring your message is, for all of us. Thank you for your vision and commitment to children. There’s no “nature deficit” here!

    • simonabramson

      Thanks Rebecca! It’s awe inspiring to witness the beautiful gifts that arise when adults and children are in the wild together. Each of us has something unique to offer. It’s incredible to be alive!