“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep seas, and music in the roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.” ~ Lord Byron
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” ~ John Burroughs
I’m back. It’s been a busy time of work on upcoming podcast episodes but I have a few in the can, as they say in the movie business, so I can take time to reconnect with all of you.
Barry and I have just cut the cord on our satellite entertainment and are now streamers. One of the things we did right away was search out some documentaries that we’d heard about and they had a big impact on me.
I have to say that I’m not really an outdoorsy person. I don’t mind going camping if I can live in a trailer, or if there are showers readily available. I’m not athletic enough to be a good hiker. I might walk through a forest, like the Red Woods, but, for the most part, I like to sit and enjoy nature from my porch or from a balcony.
I do love, as I’ve written often, to watch the wildlife traipse through our back yard. And just sitting still out in nature and listening to the birdsong, the wind, thunderstorms, or the waves is good enough for me.
When I was a young girl, my family watched the Sunday night Disney show, which often had animal stories, but those were never my favorites. Since we became streamers, that has changed. Three documentaries touched me so deeply that I feel differently about my place on the planet.
The first documentary we watched was My Octopus Teacher, (2020) which won an Oscar this year for best documentary feature. It’s about Craig Foster, a film maker living in South Africa. At the beginning he talks about how the lockdown has prevented him from working and he’s suffering depression as a result. His relationships are suffering and he feels lost. But he lives on the tip of the continent at False Bay along the Cape Town coastline. This bay is a section of calm in an otherwise treacherous ocean. He has often snorkeled in the bay but because he’s bored and depressed he starts going every day. One day, he meets an interesting octopus and begins following her. Eventually, they form a bond and for a year, Foster dives everyday, expanding his lung capacity so he can stay submerged for longer periods of time to be with his octopus friend. He enlists the help of a human filmmaker friend to document their encounters. There are too many details to share but the upshot of the film is that this unprecedented relationship healed Foster’s depression and gave him a new perspective on the preciousness of the natural world. It also helped him heal his human relationships. As a result of his octopus teacher, he founded the Sea Change Project.
The second documentary is titled, The Year Earth Changed, (2021) with David Attenborough as the narrator. This Apple + documentary is about how nature is making a comeback due to humans being locked down for a year. These stories about how the lack of our presence in outdoor spaces has helped several species of animals begin to thrive again touched me so deeply. We humans think we have dominion over the earth and that all spaces belong to us. But the fact is we share this planet with plants and animals and we need to do a better job of being mindful of their needs over our hunger for entertainment and recreation.
The third documentary I watched is titled The Elephant Queen. This one was released in 2019, but is even more relevant today. It’s about an elephant matriarch named Athena, and her family as they navigate the harsh conditions of the African savannah to find food and water. The tragic thing about this documentary is that both Athena, and her male counterpart, Satao both have huge tusks and at the end we are told that Satao was killed by poachers, and Athena disappeared presumed dead on the trek between the summer watering hole and her family’s winter refuge. To have such long tusks, they were both older than 50 years. As with all elders, they took a great deal of experience with them and I must say I cried to hear of their tragic ends.
I have loved elephants ever since I was a child and saw them, Asian elephants, at the Portland Zoo. I thought they were magnificent, and if I ever had a chance to see African elephants, I might feel I could die and go to heaven. Studies have shown that elephants are highly intelligent. They mourn their dead, and are extremely loyal to their family group and this documentary shows both of those attributes.
I’m kind of on a roll now and will be watching other nature documentaries so that even though I’m not much of an outdoorsy person, I can still admire and appreciate the natural world. I want to educate myself on ways to work with nature rather than assume that because I’m human I own everything. After all, I share this planet with all kinds of magnificent beings.
I hope your summer/winter is going well and that you are getting to go out and enjoy nature and perhaps appreciating it more than ever before.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2021
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.
Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.
Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a new podcast where she and her guests discuss the stories in all formats that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find me.
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