Category: Nature

Sheltered: Missing the Primal Power of Nature

In her book about human-animal relations, Made for Each Other, Meg Daley Olmert tells the story of C.J. Buffalo Jones, a 19th Century frontiersman who, in her words, “witnessed one of the last demonstrations of the natural order that shaped the logic of our ancestors” and left record of it. “On a hill in Canada’s Northwest Territory,” she explains, “he watched herds of caribou congregate until all the eye could see for ten of miles around was a giant mast of animals whose antlers became a mighty forest. For several days this living landscape flowed past him day and night.” The number, which Jones estimated at 25 million, absolutely staggers the modern imagination.

Whether or not his approximation was accurate, still the size and force of such an experience seem beyond comprehension. Yet, it’s exactly the kind of natural event that inhabited our ancient ancestors’ communal consciousness and, not surprisingly, directed their cosmology. As Olmert suggests, it’s a major mental stretch for us moderns “to fathom a world in which we were not the top predators.” Yet, we evolved not in a state of dominion but coexistence, observance and even reverence for nature’s many forces.

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How to Turn Your Nature Deficit Into a Nature Surplus

This summer I got an unmistakable itch. A yearning. A calling. It happens every summer. I start getting these admittedly ridiculous, unrealistic, impossible, and yet somehow still unavoidable and alluring thoughts about ditching civilization for a little cabin in the woods somewhere. Maybe a plot of land, some chickens, some livestock (not sure what, maybe cows, goats, and sheep, maybe a pig or two). There’s a river running through it, too, or at least a babbling brook, leading up to a big blue lake that you can see right through to the bottom even though it’s hundreds of feet deep. And trees everywhere, towering green giants that cover the sky and leave just enough room for me to stargaze and spot oncoming storms.

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Dear Mark: Gallbladder-less, CrossFit on Hiking, and Gluten Cutter

We’ve got a three parter for today’s edition of Dear Mark. First up is a question about gallbladders and a Primal way of eating. Or, more specifically, the lack of a gallbladder, and how one can make Primal work without one. Just because your ability to digest fat is a bit impaired doesn’t mean you can’t eat this way. Next, I explore what CrossFit really thinks (or doesn’t) about walking, hiking, and other sorts of frequent slow moving. After all the anaerobic WODs, is there room for a relaxing walk with your significant other? And finally, I discuss the usefulness – or not – of Gluten Cutter and other gluten digestive aids. These products claim to help even sensitive people digest and detoxify gluten safely, but are they legit?

Let’s go:

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The Rich and Measurable Benefits of Spending More Time in Nature

Anyone outside as they’re reading this? Who’s wishing they were? (I imagine there are many heads nodding.) It’s a natural human instinct, this pining away at the office window, this emotional itch to break out, and finally the luxuriant relief to be in the open again. The fact is, we’re never so much at home as we are in the outdoors. Nature was the context and logic for all of human evolution. Temporary shelters and caves aside, our nomadic hunter-gatherer ancestors lived their full lives under the big sky. They developed complex skills and even aesthetic preferences adaptive to surviving in the natural world. Increasingly, research illuminates the deep-reaching legacy of our natural roots. Studies support what Primal intuition has known all along: there are rich and measurable benefits to being in nature.

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32 “Slow Living” Inspired Ways to Savor Summer

As we round out the last few weeks of summer, I’ve been thinking about all the potential left in the season. Although there’s admittedly less pressure to grab hold of every last warm day in my current locale, I remember savoring those final weeks of summer in Northern New England. Time was truly of the essence, and we didn’t waste a day with both fall and school on the horizon again. No matter where we live, I think summer inspires a leisure we more readily forgo in other months when routine often has greater hold of our days. In the spirit of Primal play – and last week’s Slow Living post – here are a few (dozen) ideas for savoring the upcoming weeks. Enjoy, everyone!

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Spiritual Encounters in Nature

Some weeks ago many of you responded to the meaningful experience Gerry relayed in his success story about a transformational day in the forest. Filed with a spontaneous energy and euphoria, he connected with a vitality he hadn’t felt in years. Gerry’s experience resonated with people because so many of us have had similar encounters in the wild. We still reserve a sacred vocabulary for nature with evocations of forest cathedrals and quiet reverence. The concept of the vision quest lingers in our culture. Figures in the major modern religions all faced times of temptation and transformation in the wild. Even in our modern times, being in the wild suggests encountering the raw and elemental.

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