As a teenager, I took comfort in the mountains, seashores, and deserts near my father’s house in Los Angeles. I rode my bike to beaches and hiked in the hills above them. Snow covered mountains could be reached in a couple of hours, and vast, haunting deserts weren’t much further. The beauty outdoors offset the chaos inside. Like innumerable humans before me, I found solace in the landscape.
Natural beauty nourishes our human biology. We feel agitated and depleted when out of touch with it. Yet relief doesn’t require travel to wilderness. We can connect to it without hiking, swimming, or riding a bike. Nature is closer than we think. It is here, now, in our human body.
Our eyes, mouths, lungs, and limbs are just as natural as sunshine, caverns, rainforests, and redwoods. When we grow sensitive to the body’s wild beauty, we feel it vibrate with Life, like a meadow in springtime.
Spending time outdoors is always healthful, but when we can’t get away, we can go within. We can savor the winds of breath, the river of digestion, the leap of muscle, the stillness of bone. We can meet our inner landscape with the same awe and wonder we bring to seashores and mountains.
The human body is a wild and dynamic ecosystem, swept at times by gales of feeling, but always thrumming with Life. The body is nature, right here, right now.
- Originally posted 8 June 2022; revised 7 December 2022.