According to Graeme Gibson, we harbour an ancient animal memory in our being. Although largely inaccessible to our consciousness, its shadows dwell in our instincts, just as they stir in our dreams and fears. Sometimes they can be sensed in the beating of our hearts, or in an unexpected encounter with wild creatures – the sudden howling of wolves, or the appearance of a stag that stares intently before vanishing over the edge of a hill.
Given the relative rapidity with which we’ve embraced our own domestication, we shouldn’t be surprised to find that spending time on nature restores and even heals us in remarkable ways. It reduces stress and strengthens the immune system, and it has been shown to bolster the attention span of children and shorten the healing process for post-operative adults.
Gibson explores the ways humans relate emotionally, imaginatively and physically to the natural world – and the damage done to us by our abandonment of Nature.
Graeme Gibson is an ardent naturalist and acclaimed author of the Bedside Book of Birds and the Bedside Book of Beasts. He is a former council member of the World Wildlife Fund Canada, the Chairman of the the Pelee Island Bird Observatory, and recipient of the Order of Canada.