Earlier in the year I put out a call for submissions for the first issue of The Nature Zine. In the spring, I set a deadline for myself- to finally complete a zine before the end of the field season. With the contributions and support from friends, I finally put forth the effort to complete the first issue of this project.
Issue One consists of a few stories and thoughts, 3o pages in all, on adventures, childhood memories, thoughts on experiencing city and forest, and more. For example, I used this as an opportunity to finally write out my experience of having an allergic reaction to bald faced hornets while in the middle of a forest, off trail, a couple of hours away from the hospital. I gave away the first run of 50 to friends but have recently made another run of 50. If you are interested in a copy, I’ll send you one for free, trade or a $1-$3 donation. Donations just help to cover the cost of copies and shipping. Just use the the paypal button below or email me for other options, batsnbikes [at] gmail [dot] com
Eventually, I’ll provide a pdf version but I like this only being available as a hard copy for now. Plus, it’s fun to get mail and keep with zine tradition.
Until then, I’ll at least share my introduction:
Welcome to Issue #1 of The Nature Zine:
Over that last few years, I’ve spent more and more time away from my usual city life. I’ve jumped back and forth from one extreme to the next. For a few months, I would walk out my back door and into an alley in Detroit or Flint or any other various city street I’ve stepped into from my always temporary home. Compare this to walking out my door and into a forest, or not having a door at all. Just climbing out of my tent and into the crisp morning forest air. I fall asleep to the swaying rhythm of katydids and the calls of owls, woodcocks and whip-poor-wills, sometimes even the drumming of a ruffed grouse as the sun sets.
Each year I spend more of my time in the forest. Each year I learn more and my connection grows stronger. Sometimes I need to slow down and not just analyze, learn from and understand my surroundings but enjoy them. Reminding myself that it’s ok to hear a bird calling and not remember their name, I can still appreciate their songs.
Out here in the forest, with all that there is to explore, I sometimes still find loneliness. I struggle to find that balance of my love of nature and my need to be around amazing people to share vegan meals with over both thought-provoking conversations and laughter. Social validation. I need both in my life. But as I walk deeper into the wilderness, I fear that I am often cutting myself away from my social connections.
As I near the end of my 8-month track of living in a house in the middle of a state forest in Pennsylvania, so many thoughts rush through my mind. How do we find that balance? For those of us that live in the city and crave the outdoors- we miss the smell of freshly fallen leaves on a dew covered forest floor. In the city I miss the chorus of frogs and songbirds but in the forest I find myself escaping to the city so I can shout along with friends to my favorite punk bands. I drive back to the forest alone but as my headlights brighten my surroundings and the tree branches arch over me I feel this sense of them welcoming me home. I step out of my car that is polluting their air and I take a deep breath, I let it all out.
For each of us, that balance differs but we must never lose our connection with nature. In a city, I always find myself in any park nearby. I watch the pigeons for hours with friends or sometimes alone. I observe the squirrels and catch them stealing glances at me. We see plants bursting through the cracks of pavement. Become mesmerized by the way ants can clean the sidewalk in a way similar to how they make use of a forest floor. Birds build their nests in the cracks of old buildings and bats fill the attics and night skies of cities. We have destroyed their homes and pushed them out, and unfortunately our actions continue. The more we ignore nature around us, the less we will notice as more and more of it is destroyed.
This zine is about sharing those connections you’ve had. It’s about reconnecting. It’s about sharing your fears. Sharing your adventures. It’s about our love and respect for both city life and the natural world. Both can exist.
Learn. Share. Explore. Connect. Respect. Enjoy.
Stand in solidarity with the natural world,
Both a creative outlet and a way to share our thoughts on connecting with nature, The Nature Zine will continue on with more issues. If you are interested in contributing, please send your stories, thoughts, and art to me or contact me for more information: batsnbikes [at] gmail [dot] com
Much thanks to everyone for who contributed to Issue One. Cover art by Amanda Blodøks.