Nature Deficit Disorder

by | Jan 12, 2010 | Health and Wellness


Do you have nature deficit disorder?

One of my favorite places to walk, contemplate, and be in a
natural setting is Sharon Woods. Sharon Woods is a 35 acre park with a lake near my home. It is billions of
years old and full of fossils and natural streams and waterfalls. When my
children were little we would go there to play on the swings and slides and
feed the ducks in the lake. When my youngest child was three, I started back to
work part time. My assistant and I became friends and started walking at 6:00
in the morning around the lake. That was twenty three years ago. We worked
together for three years and stayed friends. She and I still walk at Sharon
Woods. We no longer walk at 6:00 AM, but meet sporadically when our schedules
gel. When weather permits (anything over 30 degrees) I either walk by myself or
find a friend, but Sharon Woods is always my favorite place to bond with
nature. In the winter, many of the trees are bare and the ground may be covered
with snow, but the lake glistens and the ducks are more sedate. There are small
animals joining me on the path and occasionally I will spot a deer. I enjoy all
the seasons at Sharon Woods, but at this time of the year, I often miss going
there because it is too cold or the paths have not been cleared of snow. My
soul yearns for the quite path in nature. There is something about the air, the
subtle noises, and the brief nod or smile to others who share the path with me.

Recently in an editorial, I saw the term “nature deficit
disorder.” I found out that this term comes from a book by Richard Louv called A Child in the Woods. Nature Deficit Disorder does not only affect children but adults too.  I feel I have some of the symptoms like an increased feeling of stress and restlessness, trouble paying attention, and a feeling of not being rooted. I miss my contemplative walks in nature and look forward to the sun coming out this week and temperatures rising. Nature is calling me.


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