Can “Philosopher Kings” make it in the “real world”?
What if you could live in an idyllic setting far from other people and raise kids without technology or the typical pressures and influences of the “civilized world”? What knowledge and skills should they develop to survive and thrive? How would you teach them? In this 2016 movie written and directed by Matt Ross, Viggo Mortenson plays a devoted father raising six children “off the grid”. A tragedy forces the family to journey into the outside world and tests the values and bonds the family has worked to create. The movie weaves drama and humor into a story of a parent facing judgement for their choices, but facing the inevitable: children growing up and having to make their own choices.
Warning: while the movie features the beauty and wonders of nature, the opening scene is filled with tension and brief violence that is not present for the rest of the movie.
This week, my partner and I decided to finally clean up our backyard. To give some context, our backyard becomes very muddy and wet when it rains, snow melts, or if our dog digs (which is now a usual occurrence). We decided to cover some holes, lay down a tarp, and clean up our deck for more optimal seating. After we did this, we were able to feel more comfortable using our backyard and relax with some tiki torches and the trees’ sounds. My dog may still get extremely muddy when in the backyard, but now I feel like we have a calmer and more organized place to sit and relax. I always loved hanging out in my backyard as a kid, so it is very important to me to have this outdoor space to explore and grow.
To kick off the week, I had a busy schedule which stressed me out. I had to take care of volleyball administrative duties as well as schoolwork. Around 7 p.m. I went for a walk while listening to music. It has become sort of a routine for me to get outside and walk in order to destress and get back into a positive mindset.
To start off my morning, I showered and then had an exam to take in one of my classes. The exam went well and then I went for a bike ride around campus. I stopped near the South Quad and sat on a bench under the Bell Tower and enjoyed the sight of the purple flowers on either side of me.
I just got back home after sitting in the grass of the Main Quad for a couple hours while getting some homework done and watching lectures. I think I might have gotten a little sunburnt under my eyes which makes me happy. Although sunburn is not always fun, I feel happy about it because the weather is getting much nicer.
This week was very warm, so although I was suffering from a terrible cold, I went on a walk to the quad and spent some time sitting on the bench in front of the English building. Having graduated in December, I haven’t spent much time on the quad, and it was so nice to sit down and take in the scene and fresh air again.
This week we finally got some nicer weather which made going outside a much more pleasant experience. I took advantage of the weather by taking a walk around the quad and other parts of campus with some friends and ended the excursion off by grabbing some bubble tea. It felt nice to leave my bulky winter coat, hat, and gloves at home for once and I’m hoping that’s something I get to do a lot more as spring gets closer and closer. I didn’t realize exactly how much I missed being able to comfortably walk outside and it felt like I was able to take in nature in a way I really hadn’t since winter started. When the sun is out I can physically feel my mood lighten and I just had more motivation to get work done. Although the weather was by no means hot, it did kickstart my excitement for summer and all the outdoor activities that come with warmer weather (and not to mention a break from schoolwork).
The goal of the HIN Project is to encourage people to #GetOutside – or to use Nature to foster restoration and well-being. As we approach a year of living with cancellations, lockdowns, isolation, and distancing due to Covid-19, we thought we would practice what we preach. For the next few weeks, our staff will document their attempts at going to nature or bringing nature inside! Here is what we did in our first week.
All of us on the Humans in Nature Project have been “sheltering in place” since late March 2020 and have been adjusting to teaching and learning from a distance using technology. Our interns have had to recreate their last semester as seniors adjusting to their new online classes and trying to keep spirits up. We have decided to focus on examples of things we are doing intentionally to help us relieve stress, increase positive mood, and restore attention. We will be sharing our attempts over the next few weeks.