When I Let My Cat Walk Me
I recently discovered that my cat can walk on trails. It required some letting go and trusting that he would not just bolt or climb into a sewer, but he’s surprised me. Over time, he lets me walk near him and he follows the trails (mostly). We have learned how to move together in a way that works for both of us. I let him hide in a bush when a hiker or a dog passes us, and I allow a lot of time for long pauses, and in exchange, he’s allowed me to accompany him on his treks.
I’ve learned a lot about reconnection to the natural world just by observing him. These are my favorite nature reconnection tips, courtesy of Poe (my cat):
1. Stay in one place and engage all senses. I notice people tend to lumber through natural places very loudly and quickly and don’t really take in or observe their surroundings much. Other beings in nature do not do this. They move more intentionally. They take long pauses to listen, to hear, to smell, to feel, and not just see. They get to know the area and everything around, whether it is to stay attuned to predators or prey. They do not waste noise and use it more deliberately either as alarms or communication. There is more reverence for silence in nature.
2. Take it off road! If you always follow the trails, how will you discover a new and inspiring wild place? There is beauty waiting just off the beaten track. Just keep in mind to always notice where you are treading and to do so lightly.
3. Slow down. The rhythm of nature is SLOW. Move slowly. It feels weird at first. But eventually, you start to feel more attuned to the nature around you in the deliberate slowness. Notice what plants are around, what bugs, what creatures. What movements, sounds, and smells do they emit? What way is the wind moving, and how does the sun hit the ground?
This is what I spend a lot of my time doing these days. Our pets can be portals to the wild world. Let them teach you. The deeper attunement to the natural world has been nourishing to me on so many levels… I hope it can be for you too.