Be­com­ing Na­ture: Learn­ing the Lan­guage of Wild Animals and Plants

Ta­ma­rack Song

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Nonfiction - PATTY COMEAU

Bear & Com­pany

Soft­cover $18 (304pp) 978-1-59143-211-1

No mat­ter the start­ing place, the in­ten­tional prac­tices de­scribed here can evolve a new mind-set.

For hu­mans, in their do­mes­tic state, per­haps no ex­pe­ri­ence could be as po­tent as re­gain­ing a true and mean­ing­ful re­la­tion­ship with the whole of ex­is­tence. In Be­com­ing Na­ture, Ta­ma­rack Song of­fers in­valu­able prac­ti­cal and spir­i­tual guid­ance for re­turn­ing to har­mony with the Hoop of Life.

Through a se­ries of man­age­able steps, Song in­spires per­sonal trans­for­ma­tion by of­fer­ing a new un­der­stand­ing of the dy­namic be­tween na­ture and the in­di­vid­ual: “Re­la­tion­ship is em­pa­thy, which is cre­ated not by study but by the ex­pe­ri­ence of the heart.” If they are open to the philoso­phies Song out­lines and are com­mit­ted to the prac­tice of learn­ing with both the body and imag­i­na­tion, read­ers can im­prove their ex­pe­ri­ences of find­ing and in­ter­act­ing with wild animals.

The men­tal and phys­i­cal ex­er­cises, games, and sto­ries in­cluded here cre­ate a unique and mul­ti­di­men­sional ap­proach—one in which dom­i­nat­ing na­ture (by be­com­ing a skilled tracker, suc­cess­ful hunter, or other “ex­pert”) is re­vealed to be much less ful­fill­ing than to truly “be­come” na­ture. To shed at­tach­ments and learned cul­tural be­hav­iors, find­ing ways out of an ego-cen­tered real­ity and into a greater ex­pe­ri­ence of wild­ness, these prac­tices re­di­rect en­ergy away from ra­tio­nal anal­y­sis and to­ward the cre­ative en­vi­sion­ing of life from the per­spec­tive of non­hu­man an­i­mal kin.

The writ­ing is per­son­able, and Song’s gen­er­ous in­clu­sion of tales about his own jour­ney to “be­come na­ture” adds a lov­ing qual­ity to the text. No mat­ter the start­ing place, the in­ten­tional prac­tices de­scribed here can evolve a new mind-set, one in which a lack of judgment and de­tach­ment from pro­scrip­tive goals can en­hance our in­tu­itive sense, or as Song puts it, our flu­ency in Na­ture Speak, the “mother tongue of all life and the foun­da­tion of in­ter­species com­mu­ni­ca­tion.” Song ex­plains that this lan­guage is “the op­er­at­ing sys­tem for our minds and the ba­sic lens through which we per­ceive our world.”

Whether ur­ban dweller or off-grid sub­sis­tence home­steader, any­one can ben­e­fit from the col­lected wis­dom Song shares in this lat­est of­fer­ing—these lessons from a lifetime of learn­ing-by-do­ing in­spire faith in the lim­it­less po­ten­tial of one who has truly be­come na­ture.

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