I told my wife today that I don’t think people should live in nature. It was by way of explaining why I have ‘my’ tree, and why I was leaving to visit it.
She was surprised. After all, I’m the one who’s experimenting with druidry. How can I focus on nature, and want to keep myself away from it? It’s a bit strange, I guess, at first glance.
I have to admit that this is a bit of mental baggage that I’ve had for a while, it’s not directly connected to druidism.
The thing is this: I want nature close to people, and people close to nature. But. . . Well, there are a lot of people and, coming from relatively rural America, I know that a life in nature means cars. A lot of cars. Cars every day. For every purpose.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there’s a better way to do this. But, that’s how I see it. Until a better solution is found, to me it makes the most sense for people to live in such a manner that they can walk for most trips (no, I myself don’t yet live that way), living compactly enough that nature isn’t far (guess how I feel about surrounding nice, walkable cities with miles and miles of single family homes) and that they can easily get into it, but without pretending to own it, not any more than the next person does.
I live in Dresden, Germany. And — though I’ve never felt as though the people of the city necessarily want me here — in a lot of ways, I’m glad I do. Within the city limits is the Dresdner Heide, which is the second largest ‘city forest’ in Europe. On the days when I go for a long run, I’m able to start at my front door and get there and still have enough energy for several kilometers in the forest. It’s great.
Near our apartment is the Größer Garten, which locals like to describe as Dresden’s own ‘central park.’ It’s where my tree lives. According to my GPS when I run, it’s seven hundred meters from my house.
More than that, it’s just a generally green city. I’m confident that it’s not entirely by design (located on a river, there are a lot of flood plains that aren’t left empty meadows for the public to use) but the fact remains, I live in a city where the average apartment dweller in the center of the city is seldom more than a thirty minute walk from restful green.
And it’s not a particularly dense city. There is plenty of room for improvement. I’m convinced it can work.
What do you think? Am I foolishly overlooking something fundamental? (Aside from human nature) Is what I believe somehow out-of-step with druidism? Who thinks that I’ll change my opinion, the further I get along this path?