Nature is Medicine: The practice of falling in love with the world

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Thomas Lowe Fleischner, Jana Richman and Nalini Nadkarni, the authors of “Nature, Love, Medicine: Essays on Wildness and Wellness”, came to UVU to read and share their writing about the affinity between human and nature on Oct. 11.

The event began with the three writers reading some excerpts from their essays to give the audience a sense of the three different voices in the collection. After the reading, there was a Q&A section.

“Nature, Love, Medicine” is a collection essays from people with different backgrounds sharing their personal stories of what nature means to them, and what benefits practicing natural history brings to individuals and societies.

Fleischner, one of the writers, and the editor of “Nature, Love, Medicine” began his reading by saying “humans are born to practice natural history.” He defined natural history as “the practice of falling in love with the world.” He also said that engagement with nature helps us love the world.

Richman said that her husband struggles with depression, and that the place they live in has an impact on both his depression and how she interacts with it. She said, “a place could do for him what I could not.” Nature could hold and soothe her husband’s depression; more importantly, nature is always there for people to explore.

Nadkarni, the third author from this collection to speak at the event, shared her project of bringing nature to people who are in restricted spaces, like those in jail. She said, “there is an urge to share this emotion with everyone, especially to those who have no opportunity to experience such feelings themselves.”

The three writers discussed their different opinions on writing about nature. Fleischner said, “[writing about nature] helps us feel a sense of belonging to the human community and the larger world of life.” He further explained that not only can it affirm what he already have experienced, but it can also invite us into a new experience about nature.

Richman, on the other hand, said that as a writer she does not write to pass a message to the reader, she writes to explore those issues and figure out how they impact her life. Nadkarni points out no matter what medium people choose to write about nature with, it is about the manifestation of the hunger between human and nature.

This reading event brings mindful meditation to students. Cynthia Sharma, a senior majoring in creative writing, said, “I like what he said about emotions, feelings about the environment or nature, how you cannot really separate the two, because nature is being destroyed, I mean that hurts.”

UVU provides opportunities for students to engage with nature. Robert Cousins, professor of English Literature, said that his colleagues in the English department have actually taken students on trips to the Capitol Reef Field Station where they spend their time exploring nature and writing.

Cousins said, “According to these colleges of mine, they say they definitely notice the difference and strength of [students’] writing because they are doing it in the different environment, out in nature.”

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