Today I am thinking about nature. And about poo.
I was always interested to observe how, when any group is out camping for a period of time, they always get to talking openly and animatedly about their bowel movements. I suspect it is something to do with experience in nature breaking down urban barriers and insecurities, and helping people get comfortable and reconnected with the basic realities of life. Could there be messages in the manure?
I have a fun game called Plop Trumps. You can probably immediately imagine what that is, but here’s a flavour anyway:
What I noticed was that the nastiest poo was from foxes, rats and dogs. Foxes and rats are often regarded by humans as excellent candidates for extermination; we think they are stinky and offputting. Dogs were lucky enough to be domesticated instead. What all three have in common is that they are the most adapted to living, whether wild or subjugated, in human environments.
Human poo was not included in Plop Trumps. I think I know why: it would be too shocking to see us down there with the foxes and rats. I am pretty confident that Gillian McKeith, the poo-sniffing TV dietitian, would agree with me. Take a Tesco ready meal, mix in a Coke, add some Nurofen, simmer for a few hours…you get the idea.
And do you see how wholesome is the poo of the tapir, hidden away in the forest? I have a great urge to spread it on my radish seedlings. Maybe in nature, foraging and exercising and eating real food, we do more wholesome poos, worth talking about again. Foxes and rats also live more wholesomely in nature, and are not so stinky when we meet them there.
Rising, finally, above the poo analogy, what I am pretty convinced about is that when we are in nature we begin to remember the way that animals like humans and foxes were designed to live and interact. This offers us fresh perspectives on the lives we have today come to live. Once gained, there are a million ways to interpret them, and each to their own. But whatever is or isn’t done afterwards, it is with a heightened awareness.
In my case, it is becoming clear that immersing ourselves in rich, meaningful and perhaps uncomfortable experiences that help us grow into real, less toxic, humans is utterly vital for us as individuals, and collectively as a system.