Back when I was in college, I took a wonderful class on social ecology from an equally wonderful professor who also happened to be a Native American storyteller. You can imagine how much fun his classes were! I also have to admit that it was one of the more difficult classes I took in college - every exam was essay format, open book. And he expected citations to back up your arguments.
One of the things that I took away from that class was a whole new idea of what "nature" is and how it is defined. The class opened me up to the wonderful world of philosopher and activist Murray Bookchin, and his ideas on social ecology. (The late Mr. Bookchin also happened to give a series of lectures at the college while I was attending classes there, so I had the opportunity to hear him speak.)
This new idea of nature was not an easy one to wrap your head around. After growing up thinking that pavement and my little suburban neighborhood (and the bordering urban city) where not nature, I started to understand that we as humans beings, and by extension anything of our creation, are all included in the definition of nature. That means that the wrought iron bench on which I sit right now is included in the definition of nature. Our vehicles and our buildings can also be considered "natural", as they are the product of our imaginations, and human beings are natural beings.
So I sometimes find it ironic that I live in what's considered to be the East Coast's last great wilderness area, but I find myself plugged into a computer for 8 hours a day. Nature? Maybe. But here are some photographs of nature in my backyard, in the middle of this great, green wilderness I call home.
More of my thoughts on nature later, particularly about how they pertain to food...to be continued!