A Summer Story
Nature is a great teacher, a show-er of the redemptive quality of imagination. Nature reveals the ways we can’t even begin to imagine, the possibilities that lie outside the boundaries of our imagined worlds. Adrienne Maree Brown, author and founder of the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, says in her recent interview with Krista Tippett, that in so many ways we are living inside the world we were told to imagine, inside the imaginations that someone else told us were true. And so she poses the questions, “what does it look like to imagine beyond the constructs? What does it look like to imagine a future where we all get to be there, not causing harm to each other, and experiencing abundance?”
So I find myself wondering, as I gaze at the natural world, some of these questions. What if, for example, you were reminded that, like a river or an ocean, your body is a living water system? That you are made up of a series of water ways that combine into rivers and dams and oceans so that all the fluids inside your body—blood, lymph, water, urine, etc—can flow and redistribute and cleanse the ecosystem that is you. Imagine this for a moment. So often, the body is referred to in metaphors that are connected to machines or to war—feeling “out of gas,” thinking about how to “keep the engine going,” or “battling the siege that we’re under attack from.” What if instead we imagined ourselves as we truly are, part of the natural world, inextricably linked to the earth? Could we also imagine ourselves into a better relationship with each other and nature?
These questions wrapped around my heart this past week as I spent five days in Baltimore working in urban gardens with a group of teens. Nature has something important to teach us about imagining something other than what we can see right now.