My Childhood Peak Experiences in Nature

From a young age, I loved trees.

I grew up in a quiet neighborhood just on the outskirts of the woods of a state park.  There was a nice variety of trees that surrounded our house.   I had a special fondness for a large pine that loomed outside my bedroom window.  It was a total adventure to climb it’s low (and sticky!) branches.  The crabapple trees in the front yard  bloomed pink flowers every spring, and was also home to a family of robins for many years.  There was also a large tree on the west side of the paved driveway that I would lie under in the summertime and stare at the leaves while the branches swayed in the breeze.

The sound of the leaves was so soothing.  To be outside was soothing.

I often played around the roots of tree trunks, especially where soft green moss grew, like tiny carpets.  I studied bark and the insects that lived on each tree.

There was something about these trees I believed.  I felt.  I loved. 

Like most children, I could seamlessly blend reality with imagination.  Combine that with a sense of safety and hours upon hours outside to play and explore,  it was clearly a recipe for peak, or ecstatic experiences in nature.

After several experiences like this in nature throughout my life, these moments can be defined as what Abraham Maslow refers to as “peak experiences,” and all experiences were related to a strong connection to nature.  I felt at-one-with trees, the sky, the air, and a multitude of tiny ecstatic moments which a strange, mystical part of me, now as an adult, recalls.

These ecstatic moments, past and present, profoundly affect me. 

Sometimes I  feel so much energy outdoors I feel sparks in my brain.  I feel electric.  (Oh…our brains are electric!)  I still experience electric, ecstatic moments in nature, and I look forward to many many more.

To the forest!


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