The Architecture & Culture of Nature

28 Feb

I’ve been thinking about silence and nature and art lately.

The Narrows  Late Fall 2012 087

About how it started with cancelling my television subscription more than a year ago and though I miss easily getting live news and I do still watch lots of DVDs, I love that there is often no background noise in my life.

I remember climbing the walls that first weekend of going cold turkey without TV. It surprised me! So many summers throughout my life, when I headed north or to where ever it was that I was going to be canoe guiding for a few months of the year, I never missed TV once. Never thought about it the second I got outside, but here in my home that first weekend with no distractions … it was physically uncomfortable.


But then I adapted. I’ve spent more time listening to music and searching out new music. I’m sure I spend my time better and I’m positive my psyche is better for not being inundated with ads and violence and “reality.”

Then, two days ago I read a blog post by Irish travel writer Pol O’Conghaile about Fogo Island that is here in Canada. I’d read about Fogo before and been quite enamoured by the landscape and the architecture of the artists residences and his article inspired me to look some of it up again. Stunning!

Then I read an article yesterday about depression and children with ADHD and how those things can be alleviated by spending more time in nature. It spoke about the theory that humans are hardwired to be in natural environments and if we are deprived of that opportunity we suffer mentally for it, which I also believe.

December 15 085

So as someone who lives essentially in the woods and in a remote location, where between September 15 and May 15 of each year I can go for days without seeing more than a handful of people and spend countless hours out of doors, I should be the healthiest woman on earth.


Yet, I am beginning to desperately miss culture and cool architecture and art and theatre and dance and beautiful fashion (not because I know how to wear it but simply because it’s another form of art work to appreciate).

I left those ideas to settle inside my head and work their way around each other as I walk and snowshoe and stargaze. While walking home yesterday in a freezing wind chill, the sun on my face and deer and elk about, it dawned on me that humankind would not have ever been able to conceive and construct beautiful works of art in any medium if they didn’t first have Nature as their mentor and model.

Sunset 2013-05-23  Endless

How could anyone imagine constructing a safe skyscraper or an appealing, innovative building if they’d never appreciated geography- layered cliffs, sand dunes, fjords, mountains, rushing rivers, meandering rivers, grasslands, tree roots, icebergs – to begin with?

Ice  Birch in Autumn February Melt

How could a symphony, with all of its delicate and intricately woven layers and sounds, be written if the composer had not first trained their ear so well in the “silence” of Nature that they could pick up the lyrical uncurling of a flower bloom or the light flutter of a butterfly landing beside them even as the wind was creating drama in the branches all around them?

Boreal Chorus Frog Compressed 2013  Phyllis Diller Flower  A Sunday Drive 023   Dragonfly Beaver Pond Trail

How could a designer ever fathom intricate stitch work and appreciate textures if humans had not first hunted and trapped for furs and learned to work with hides and dye grasses or use quills and the patterns in the night sky to adorn their clothing with geometric shapes?

Lynx Edited Elk Island National Park 2014-01-15 Coyote Little Reds  Elk Youngster Head Shot 2014  Bull Elk Late Autumn

Where did dance come from but First Peoples who used their bodies to imitate and understand the world they perceived around them; connecting emotion and memory with their surroundings and then expressing those ideas and desires through movement? First story tellers of our communities through the ages.

 Amisk Wuche Trail   Lakeshore GrassGrass in the wind   

Movement before language.

Melody before lyrics.

We were tactile, sensory beings before concept and visionary thought evolved.

Elk Island Bison Rutt 2013 052   Elk Island Bison Rutt 2013 050 Leaves of a colour

It dawned on me yesterday that I am bestowed with the great gift of being able to live, work and play surrounded by the very foundational elements from which creativity likely evolved. And this gives me great hope that I am not turning into a “backwoods” weirdo and that perhaps I have not fully discovered the depth of my own creative well. And, when I do get to visit big urban centres, I will have a deeper appreciation for the thought and care, whimsy and abandon that artists have bravely invested in their work.

Snowshoeing at Kingsmere 040

The Sound of Silence Weekly Writing Challenge

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Posted by on February 28, 2014 in PonderQs


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