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VERONIKA NESVEROVA

I’m obsessed with nature and why you should be too

I love nature, I love surrounding myself with nature and I love creating nature in my home. It’s one of the things in the world that I cannot imagine my life without. (Technically speaking there is no life without nature but you know what I mean.)

Here does how my obsession manifest

  • My apartment is becoming a jungle. I’m sitting in the dining room/kitchen/hallway now and when I looked around I counted 22 plants around me. Tending to my plants is one of the most calming activities I know. I guess it’s my kind of meditation. Watching the water soak in the soil, watching the leaves grow bigger day by day, even watching the leaves being the same day by day.

Two years ago I grew radishes on my balcony

  • I grow stuff outside too. We have a little 50 sqm allotment nearby where we try to grow some vegetables. We only started last year but it’s really satisfying to eat the beet that just a few months back was only a seed. The little seedling that almost didn’t make it through the hail storm. Then you pick the beet and there are pieces of black wet soil clinging to it. There are small hair-like roots too! This is real food the real way. It’s very easy to forget what our food really is when you get used to picking the vacuum sealed pre-cooked beet in the supermarket.

  • My computer is too full with photos of flowers, landscapes and beautiful paths. Only recently I started sharing them on my green Instagram account:

  • Ask me about my vacation this year, last year, next year – the answer will be the same: hiking and camping. Spending several days and nights in a row outdoors – that’s a real detox.

  • My obsession with weather reached a new level ever since I discovered now the well known Norwegian weather app yr.no. Weather forecast in a form of a graph = heaven. I get very excited every time they forecast a big rain. That means that I end up checking the radar pictures during the day to see how the rainclouds are moving and what time they shall hit where I live. If then the cloud ends up avoiding us I get disappointed. Storms and big rains cause a huge adrenaline rush in my body and I can’t help but stand by the window and keep watching. When days start to get really dark here at the end of November I check the sunset and sunrise times in different places at different dates and compare. “We have as much daylight here now as they had in Prague three weeks ago.” You could hear me say. “We will have the same amount of daylight in the middle of January as it is today! Which means it will only be worse than this for the next one and half months!” Yup, that’s me, nerd.
  • Orienteering is one of my newest hobbies but it really grew dear to me. It’s not the competing I do if for. What I love about orienteering is that it forces me to move through nature off the paths. I cross ravines, jump over creeks and try to find my way between steep cliffs. I regularly get my feet wet by crossing marshes. Orienteering has forced me to accept that sometimes my feet and my calves end up covered in mud and that it doesn’t matter because it can be washed. (I’m still fighting with the mud attitude sometimes.) There is an utter joy hidden in being able to navigate precisely from a point A to a point B through a terrain where I have never been before.

  • I listen to nature noises when doing deep-focus work. My co-workers sometimes make fun of me when there are frogs croaking and complain that they need to pee when brooks are bubbling out of my office.
  • I have couple of trees and bushes that I say hi to every day as I bike to work. Every day I have a glimpse of what’s new. It’s a fascinating story these days as the light green tender leaves unravel.

I’m pretty satisfied with my relationship with nature. There are however a few things I still need to work on. For example I’m afraid of spiders, I’m really disgusted by slugs and I think going out of the tent to pee in the middle of the night when wild camping is really scary.

When I was hiking alone last weekend I started digging. Not literally (even though that shouldn’t surprise you after what you have just read) – I started digging in myself and in why I actually love nature so much. What is it that I feel at different nature-related situations and how can I use this to make my life happier? Thoughts were many but I came to one conclusion: Being surrounded by nature reminds me that there is much more going on other than my stuff. It puts my life into a perspective. When I walk through a forest, the sun shining between the branches, when I hear the bird’s songs I feel bliss. No need to worry about the past or the future, only feel the presence.

Why you should be obsessed with nature

One reason: It will make you a happier person.

How you can reconnect with nature

Nature just does not happen to us any more, not to us who live in cities. You yourself have to craft and nurture your relationship with nature. And it’s not enough to just surround yourself with nature, you need to actively interact with it. Here comes a couple of super easy things you can try to feel more connected to nature:

  • Grow something from a seed. Sure you could buy a plant too but watching something grow out of a seed is way more fascinating. For a couple of days it seems like that nothing is happening. But then the first pair of tiny leaves unfolds – a new life begins. Start off with your favorite herb on your window sill. Basilica? Or maybe coriander? Or with some climbing beans – they grow fast and you might even get to harvest some! Now in the spring it is the perfect time for this!
  • Find your own corner in your nearby park. In Sweden we are lucky that there are plenty of parks in the cities. Found your own little cozy spot and just spend time there, no agenda. Examine what’s around you, learn to know every stone.
  • Plan your getaway trips in advance, especially if getting out of the city requires some effort. Find and mark the bus connection you will take. Buy stuff to make sandwiches the day before. Such simple arrangements will ensure that you don’t just end up staying home because by the time you feel ready half of the day has already gone. (Been there many times.)
  • When in nature go offline.
  • Lie on the grass. Directly on it. Feel it tickling your neck.
  • Pick a dandelion leaf and eat it, just like that.
  • Watch a bug walk on your leg.
  • Observe the waves.
  • Turn a stone and look what’s under.
  • Pee outdoors. (Can you believe some of my colleagues have never peed outside? Yes, peeing is quite a common topic, don’t ask.)

It’s the simple things that count. Find your connection with nature and you will be happier.

First I wanted to write that I’m a nature freak but there is nothing freaky about loving nature. It’s called biophilia and even though you probably don’t realize it you have it too!

What is your relationship with nature?

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This article was written while listening to this.

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