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In the thicket next to me I hear a loud rustling. The noise lets me recognize that it must be a big animal. Probably a wild boar. I had been warned that they're here and nonetheless I decided to sleep in the tent, didn't want to admit that I, the nature person, the forest fairy, am afraid of what was lurking in the bushes and especially in the dark.

The animal really has to be right next to me. My heart sinks into my boots and at the same time it is in my mouth. I really am scared and surprised because I don't want to be in nature anymore. I escape into my tent and curse my courage. Why did I want to sleep in the tent at all costs, when I could as well have booked a room? I feel uncomfortable and just want to hide. For a short moment the walls of the tent offer protection, but then I see them in the dim light of my torch: several thin legs crawling out of a gap in the tent. Who they belong to I cannot recognize, but it must be a gigantic spider. Quickly I close my eyes. Please, Mother Earth protect me, I pray while wrapping myself tightly into my sheets. Please, Mother Earth protect me. I pray again and again and drift into sleep.

In conversation with nature. Silvana Candreia in the river.

But isn't Mother Earth exactly this? She is the animal in the bushes, the insects in the thicket, the spider in the tent that only seemingly separates me from out there. "Out there" is Mother Earth, too. And all of a sudden I'm the city girl again, all of a sudden I'm separated again from nature at a place that lives with nature. All of a sudden I long for solid walls separating me from out there, protecting me. And all of a sudden I want for comfortable amenities although I consciously decided to spend my vacation even closer to nature which means that I have to take a short walk through the darkness of the little forest to reach the composting toilet. Not in a million years would I have thought that I, who loves nature so much, who wants to protect her, who receives so much inspiration from her, wouldn't want to be in her anymore.

When I wake up the next morning and the daylight has wiped away almost all worries and fears, I'm still taken aback by yesterday's evening and most of all by my reaction. Immediately I think about separation. How all of us, more or less, are living separated from nature. Of course we appreciate and love nature, we see the beauty, we recover due to her, but we tune out the uncomfortable. Perhaps it isn't an unconditional love. The crawling, stinging, biting creatures don't belong to our beautiful picture of nature. Even though we are nature, we don't always permit her. We literally build walls around us in order to separate us from her. We cover her with concrete, look at her through slabs of glass, choose which parts of her are welcome and which ones we don't want. We are scared and disgusted by something that belongs to the cycle of nature. Everything has its place in the ecosystem and I ask myself which one is ours? Have we separated ourselves to the amount of having lost our place? Humans versus nature.

barefoot in the forest

I don't want to be part of this versus. I don't want to be the person that applies conditions to nature: I love you but only if you keep your eight-legged creatures at bay. Last night has shown me again what work I still need to do in order to feel at home, comfortable and safe in nature. It brought me home to my well-known fear of the dark and it woke a determination to befriend darkness as well as the unknown rustlers in the bushes and the spiders in my rooms. Because isn't the core of my work with "crappa e plema" exactly this? Being in and with nature completely and all those creatures belong there, too. The key, I think, is curiosity and openness mixed with a dash of courage.


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I'm also a yoga teacher and I organize rituals and retreats in nature. See you on the mat?

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