We were only there for two days, but it took less than two seconds for nature to find its inevitable way to the core of my being. The experience moved me in a substantial, unshakeable way, filling my body and mind with a reassuring sense of oneness and homecoming. There was neither room nor need for anything else. I hadn’t visited the Lake District for more than 30 years, but that immovable, eternal place once again exerted its influence in the deepest way possible.
Nature does more than revitalise and replenish. It connects you with yourself. Standing among the untouched and untouchable splendour of the lakes and their surrounding hills, I felt an intimate connection with it all, including myself. It was different to the experience of looking at the night sky and feeling the humility of our existence among the never-ending expanse of the universe. This felt as though the Earth was reminding me of who I am.
Furthermore, it happened without any effort. It makes sense that a product of nature would instantly feel at home in nature. The opposite also makes sense, of course: away from nature, amongst the concrete and chatter of the city, there can be a sense of disconnection. It’s one we may not even notice, but which we nonetheless seek to pacify through external gratification. (Ironically, if we can’t get a signal on our phones, then we are probably only a lifted head away from the deepest of connections. Equally, in those places where our phone signal is the strongest, we can easily be lost.)
It has been a month since that visit and the intensity of the feeling has gone. The memory of it is still there, but the awe, the magnificence, and the tranquil feeling of homecoming has ebbed away. Why is it so hard to recreate such depth elsewhere? The clue is in the question: it’s the depth of the feeling which is key.
Think about the weight of the landscape: its expanse, the millions of years it took to come into existence, and the sheer length of time it has been around. Not to mention the knowing silence of its unspoken wisdom. Nature brings all that to bear in every moment. She needs no other form of expression than her own majesty. And yet we are able to connect with it in an instant.
That’s where the unshakeable feeling came from. We may see simple shapes of trees, lakes and hills, but the complexity that lies behind it all, mirrors our own complexity. There is unfathomable depth to us, too. When we stare silently into another’s eyes, we sense it. And when we stand in the splendour of the natural world, we feel it. It’s innate. We are born of the same majesty, carry the same wisdom, and yearn to express our own breathtaking beauty.