Do you spend time in nature or spend time as nature?

I am not sure how I came to see a tweet from Astrid Tontson but I am grateful.  My usual feed includes technology, AI, NASA, Ram Dass and cyber security.  And even though I have not asked for it – there are plenty of posts on Covid, unrest, and politics.   Then in the midst of all that is competing for my attention, was an amazing compelling (not competing but compelling) image from a photographer in the UK.  As I looked at her work I became even more aware of this question: Do I spend time in nature or spend time as nature?

What was it that was so compelling about these images?

We all have seen videos of nature scenes before, but there was something more in Astrid’s videos and pictures.  What was the additional element? Nature images are often relaxing and calming – but these were soulful and present.  It seemed the mist, the sunrise, the water, and the animals spoke through the lens.  Through her lens, you watch nature communicate to nature.  I watched the deer on the side of the water eating leaves and grass, aware of the ducks in the water for some time.  Then the ducks swam a bit out and the deer moved into the water.   It was obvious there was communication, pause, and spacing being related between species.   The deer had waited for the ducks to move. (Link below)

These scenes are rich in deep conversations that do not use words.

Astrid selects a single camera angle and perspective.  The camera does not move.  Her lens becomes my eyes and this single perspective takes me into stillness.  That simplicity and wisdom of angle establishes a perspective of centering stillness. But there is still something more. 

There was no separation!

When we observe anything – are we seeing it as separate from ourselves?  Whatever you are looking at notices you.  And it is aware of you.  If we march into nature and whip out a camera – animals scatter.  They just know.  But what if you went into the park as nature?  That is what is also unique about these images – because nature is looking at nature.   Awareness is looking at awareness.  Astrid is nature.  Her perspective, her lens, her approach is one with nature.  She is natural, aware, and allowing.  She is noticed and then accepted as she is not separate.  There is no separation!

She blends with nature and her lens is included in the communication that is happening from nature to nature.  As she is present and enjoying and appreciating what is – it opens to her and that is captured.  As I watch the video – I am included in that way.   Through her camera – I am not looking AT nature.  I am present to and in stillness with nature and as a part of nature I am being with that which I also am.  Separation disappears and I am a part of the scene and not just observing the scene.  This is because Astrid is in that state – blended with nature.  Being nature.   And nature communicates to us through her images. 

So now, when I sit on my porch – I am reminded that I am not looking out at nature.  It isn’t happening in front of me – I am not separate from the shared space.  I am BEING nature, still, aware and present.  

A thousand cameras can take a picture of a sunset – but on occasion we can see a photograph and we become the sunset.  Nature is inclusive – Astrid reminds me that I am not separate from nature and when in that space – soulful communication happens.  

Links to Astrid’s work and enjoy for yourself:

I smiled when I saw the title of her You Tube channel – check it out:  Soul Food!

The video of the deer and ducks is available in this tweet:

You are nature

Just as nature includes you when you include it – you have that same ability to let go of trying to fit in – and fit others into you. Listen to this short meditative conversation to change the script on needing to fit in:

6 Replies to “Do you spend time in nature or spend time as nature?”

  1. I don’t have the descriptive ability that you have, but I was also drawn to the images and video that Astrid shares with us. I am grateful to be able to see how beautiful and majestic the natural world is when it is being itself, unaware that it causes such emotional reaction to the observer. I look forward to this imagery every day and it lifts my spirit away from the current gloom of the human effect.

  2. Beautiful description Deana of how exquisite our innate connection with Nature can be – if we open and allow her constant presence to be felt, witnessed and received. Thank you!

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