The Important Role of Nature in the Pursuit of Happiness in Wild Comfort, a Book by Kathleen Moore

In a world of sound bytes, 140 character limits, and ten second maximum Snapchat

photos, the presence of wonder is not easily found. There never appears to be a time or a place for exploring the surrounding world. Following a Twitter account named “Life Goals” seems to be easier and more common than going out into the world and creating personal experiences. Original thoughts, ideas, and encounters are hard to come by, and rarely sought after. In her book “Wild Comfort”, Moore displays the significant role that nature holds in her journey to find happiness. From the beginning, she expresses an optimism toward the power nature can and should have on one’s life. In the introduction she explains, “The Earth holds every possibility inside it, and the mystery of transformation, one thing into another. This is the wildest comfort.” (Moore X), which expresses her belief in the great power of nature and humans, not only physically, but also spiritually and emotionally. Concentration on nature is essential to both personal well-being and the ability to wonder.

In order to obtain the highest quality of life, one must wonder and be close with the natural world around them. A sense of wonder has been defined as a feeling of awakening or awe triggered by an expansion of one’s awareness of what is possible or by confrontation with the vastness of space and time. In recent years, a transition has caused doers to become watchers, in which a beautiful view from a mountain top is not worth the hike, the effort, or the time, for just one measly picture to post on social media. With the rapidly expanding world of the internet with online classes, allowing working from home, and online shopping, the interaction with outdoor nature in daily life is becoming less and less common. However, Moore is persistently encouraging the reader to experience nature by “[feeling their] spirits lift as the sun rises higher in the sky…part of who you have been for a million years.” (Moore 9). Nature is both around and within each human, and an attempt to put nature to the side would not only hurt humanity, but it simply could not be successful. She incorporates three of the five by saying “Find the warm places, taste the air, listen with the full length of your body

against the ground” (Moore 9). Nature can be a total sensory experience when acknowledged,

and should be fully embraced by more than just looking. One must wonder.

By engaging with the natural world, knowledge, happiness, peace of mind, self- awareness, and understanding of one’s surroundings will be uncovered. In “Burning Garbage on an Incoming Tide,” Moore reflects upon how “The Earth offers gift after gift — life and the living of it, light and the return of it…forgiveness.” (19). She treats the Earth as a person with whom everyone should pursue a relationship because it is so advantageous and enriching to one’s life. Moore gains solace from the reassurance of nature and its trait of always moving on and always forgiving, rather than remaining stagnant when things go amuck. It is in this that Moore is able move forward from the mistakes and the wrongs she has come across in her life.

Moore compares the earth to God as she closely studies in awe as though it is a higher power. What she is suggesting to the reader is the “secular sacred.” Secular meaning living in the world, and sacred meaning worthy of reverence and awe. She maintains this idea when she says “May the light that reflects on water be this wild prayer. May water lift us with its unexpected strength. May we find comfort in the ‘repeated refrains of nature,’ May we find strength in light that pours in under snow and laughter that breaks through tears, with a gratitude for life that is deep and alive” (Moore 70). This is describing nature itself as though it is a higher power, and the Earth is her God which must be worshipped, acknowledged, and praised in order to achieve fullness in one’s life. Terms such as “prayer” and “may we❞ imply that the Earth is alive and ultimately in control which one must ask for blessings of strength and comfort. When taking the time to notice, there’s so much to be thankful for as humans who “are called to live lives of gratitude, joy, and caring” (Moore 19).

Moore believes in taking advantage of the life everyone is given. In order to

experience life at its greatest capacity, significant contact with nature is essential. There is an

innumerable amount of things which one can gain by engaging and embracing the natural

world. The earth is secular; however, according to Moore, it should be treated as though it is

sacred because it has the power to determine one’s fate. Nature and the earth can bring total fullness and contentment to life, so long as one allows it to.

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