Stewart Island, Ulva Island
Southern Alps, Routeburn Track
"How would it feel to fly as an albatross, to feel the wind under my wings, stretched luxuriously out to my sides, borne aloft by a cushioning wind? Would it feel like swinging on my childhood swingset, the brief and easy pumping of my little legs carrying me higher and yet higher into the free blue sky, the air swooshing past my chest? Or would it feel more like riding my bike downhill on a wide path, holding my arms out to the sides as gravity pulls me along? I held out my arms to practice."
Natural Presence integrates the traditional disciplines of natural history and contemplative practice. Natural Presence means letting the natural world make itself present to us on its own terms, as much as possible. The term also notes that as children, we begin our lives “naturally” with a holistic presence to nature. Finally, it characterizes the naturalist’s presence to nature, including her whole self: physical, intellectual, sensory, emotional, spiritual.
In my writing and photography, I celebrate the beauty and power of both next-door and exotic nature, find ways to become more authentically present to the natural world, and see how much we can learn about nature through our own close observation and creative thinking.
I explore the intimate human-nature relationship and the ways in which we find meaning in natural history in different phases of our lives. My stories explore the science behind what or who we encounter in nature, incorporating observations and insights from other naturalists, and reflect on what it all might mean to us.
I hope you’ll share in comments your own stories from your backyard nature, and thoughts about its significance in your own life.
Welcome to Natural Presence!