A Walk in the Woods

by Hasdrubal Greathouse & Blake Mitman, Cascadia Students

“Creativity” describes the act of a conscious mind coming up with new and/or original ideas. As such, one wouldn’t associate natural environments with creativity; after all, they sprung up on their own, without a creator (or at least not one that exists in this world). However, regardless of how the world around us came to be, we can look towards it as an inspiration for our creativity.

Consider what an average hike through the woods looks like: one will see many single components, such as plants and animals. But it is not these individuals that make the forest what it is – it is their synergy: the ability of a group to create something greater than the sum of its parts. Synergy is a key component of art. A forest’s lifeforms in its ecosystem is analogous to the phrases used in a work of writing, or the instruments used in a piece of music.

Furthermore, looking into a natural environment reveals a natural order. Although every individual in a forest contributes to the synergy, each still acts in its own self-interest. This may at first seem like a contradiction and it is once again analogous to creativity: on one hand, all people live within a civilized society that they must conform to in some capacity or another. Yet on the other hand, each individual also possesses the ability to form creative thoughts from within their own mind. This is creativity: it means that regardless of whatever one feels compelled to think from societal pressures, they may often just do whatever they feel is right and true to themselves. In the process, they contribute to their order as a whole by providing something new and original.


French countryside near Carcassonne.

Yet natural environments are excellent places to draw creativity from for reasons other than their ability to meld parts into a whole. Being outside and away from others always allows one to become more in touch with their inner thoughts. To quote Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes, “Whenever I need to do some serious thinking, I go for a walk in the woods. There are always a million distractions out here.” When feeling anxious or unhappy, it is amazing how one’s mood can improve from even just a breath of fresh air, let alone a hike through the forest.

Many people have a love and respect for nature, but few are able to understand it on the most intricate levels. Likewise, almost everyone appreciates art in some form or another, but it takes an unusual and dedicated mind to analyze the finest details. This is doubly true when we make our own creative works: by looking towards the fine patterns that comprise a natural environment, we can all find inspiration for however we exercise creativity.

For more on this student blogging project, visit the Everyday Creative page!

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