Tuesday, August 12, 2008

When nature isn't a destination

Maybe I've been in the city too long. When arriving in Costa Rica, I had a strong desire to connect with nature - see the wildlife, open space, rainforests. To my surprise, it was far easier than I thought.

Coming from the city perspective, I thought one has to 'go' to see this stuff. You know, nature being a destination. Our homes, neighborhoods, institutions all being 'separate' from the natural world.

In Costa Rica, however, I felt a part of the grand scheme of things. My home itself had its own elaborate ecosystem. Ants feasted on the remains of smaller insects. Lizards feasted on the mosquitos. Outside our garden was frequented by crabs, anteaters, iguanas and other creatures. Our property manager suggested tossing out or food scraps to feed these creatures. We did and they ate it. At restaurants, local birds helped us clear our plates.

I'm not sure all this would fly in New York. In fact, I'm pretty certain it would be a health code violation.

My trip reinforced how disconnected we are from the natural world. And not only with other creatures, but also our food supply. How many of us actually know how the food we eat is grown? Or how it is processed?

I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to witness another possibility of man living in the natural world. Especially since I didn't have to get on another bus or shell out a couple bucks for admission.

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