Spending much of my life alone in nature i have developed a way of thinking and relating to nature and would be curious how a philosopher would define this. It is more about the experience than representing it with words, but i’ll make the attempt regardless. It is an example that represents a larger way of interacting with the world.
When i encounter a tree, my longing is to connect. I allow the tree deep inside my experience and attempt to extend my experience outward to the tree. I look first at its features, its movement and play of light and color through its leaves. I look at it as though it were the only tree by perceiving there is none other just like it. Then I climb onto its branches and feel its strength against my back. I close my eyes and try to perceive the experience of a tree – its timelessness and quiet. I realize that just as my extremities are defined as me through being connected, then so can the tree become me through connection. I have some sense that just as it is my perception that defines the intention and meaning of my extremities, so perhaps my intention can in part define the tree. Perhaps it is because the tree cannot perceive its own experience that I must, and that is the very reason it is part of me.
Then I wonder how I might enter into the tree’s experience. Some suggest plants grow stronger when encountering a nurturing intent, and I hope that the tree grows stronger in my presence. Then I ask if every part of this experience has only to do with me and has no part of the tree in which case I am forever isolated from it and everything else, despite a fundamental longing to connect.
Here are some interesting thoughts from poets who were also deeply affected by trees. I realize it is used as metaphor poetically, but i feel this use of metaphor represents a deeper experience that i attempt to address here. That is why it’s not in the arts forum. The issue at hand is not these poems specifically, but the experience suggested by them described above.