A Week Outside: My Experience of Feeling the Environment
This paper is a critical reflection summarizing my personal experience of interacting with nature in the context of the findings which we have encountered during the course. It is aimed at reflecting on my own activity and describing the experience from American environmental writing which has influenced me. It will focus on describing the feelings, thoughts and insights and on evaluating how the sensory feelings which I expressed impacted me. I will attribute these emotions to the course literature, mostly to the Walden by Henry David Thoreau, and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard.
The specific project which I have selected for the practical part of the assignment is staying outdoors in the night for two weekends. I adopted this decision under the influence of Thoreau readings, as he addressed the notion that separation from nature diminishes human potential and opportunities. To implement the project, along with my friend I went to the forest and stayed there for two weekends. We were taken there in the evening and picked up in the morning by his father. We had only a tent and some food to cook: no anti-mosquito nets, technical devices (but for mobile phones in case of emergency), or other commodities which could distort the feelings and perception of the nature.Before arriving at the site, I imagined that this experience would be very challenging for me, as I have never stayed outside of house for a night. Indeed, the first half of the experiment was very challenging. We had to manage to make a bonfire, plant a tent, and my friend was permanently afraid of the spiders and bugs which could bite us, especially after I told him about the giant water bug describe by Dillard and the way this bug feeds (Dillard, 8).
However, the second weekend was more relaxing. We already knew how to operate with the bonfire and tent, and managed to pay more attention to witnessing and perceiving.The first and foremost thing from Thoreau reading which has proved working for me was the necessity of self-reliance and simplicity. Being the critic of consumerism and extensive desires, Thoreau believed that humanity has not done well in tailoring itself to the commodities. This notion was actual a century ago, so there is no surprise that it has remained important now. Witnessing the beautiful forest with high trees, squirrels, deer (who occasionally were visible far from us), and listening to the sounds of nature made me feel that I could even live in such conditions, if I had an opportunity to feed myself via hunting or growing plants. But later I have caught myself with the idea that within a week or two I will get bored without Internet, books and such goods as Nutella, which can’t be just found in the forest. The consumerism is deeply rooted in my worldview, and the realization of that …