Nature Worship

There are those who come into the hides quietly, with an air of reverence about them. They sit, wait, watch, open to a miracle that is some flash of wildlife, some unexpected vision. Then there are those who wander in, look round, see nothing and leave. Some bring children and encourage that same reverence in them, others bring children and let them shout and run about. All of the behaviour I’ve seen in hides, I have also seen in cathedrals and at stone circles.

Most people are tourists. They come to look, but don’t really know what they’re looking for. When you’re in a hide, the odds of walking in and seeing something exciting in the first thirty seconds are slim. It happened to me once with a badger, though. The tourist mentality seeks a quick thrill, a low effort moment of being entertained, and often it leaves, disappointed, complaining of how dull, how rubbish it was. I’ve seen that at more tourist attractions than I can number. The bored child and the jaded adults.

The trick is that what you get out depends entirely on what you put in. The person willing to spend hours in a hide waiting to see if the bittern raises its head, stands a fighting chance of seeing the bittern. A fleeting glance almost never gives you that. The person willing to walk slowly around a space and get to know it will learn things that were unavailable to the person who made a flying stop.

I’m fascinated by the reverence of people in hides. Of the spaces I frequent, I see more overtly inspired, reverent people in hides than I do in churches, cathedrals or at ancient pagan sites. It’s nature worship, but in a non-religious context. These are people who are inspired by the natural world, who are open to being affected by what they see and willing to give of themselves in terms of time and patience in order to make a connection, experience something. Perhaps some are pantheists. Perhaps some are pagan. I don’t know, but the innate spirituality of what happens to some people in hides, is unmistakable.

The jaded ones with the noisy children move on, and I suspect do not even notice what they’ve missed. On a good day, I may manage to stop someone, point something out, share a little of the sense of wonder. Half the trouble with hides is knowing what to look for, and often the tourists need a guide, some way of entering this mysterious, magical world. Many of the nature worshippers will share their knowledge, drawing people across one by one where they can. It’s beautiful to watch.

As druids we could learn a thing or two from the hides. No challenges, no pressure, no putting down the inexperienced, just the quiet and occasional reaching out of a hand and offering of guidance that opens people to the inspiration beyond the window.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

4 responses to “Nature Worship

  • Linda Lunan

    Whilst on my travels I stayed a while in North Wales. There was a wee hide near Prestatyn – quite a long walk through an area that had loads of beautiful butterflies – so it was quite remote. Being remote though and unobserved led it to be vandalised quite often and last time I was there they had stopped repairing it. Very sad.

  • Carlos Ben Ari

    Hi, Nimue!
    Reading about your UK experience I can see how lucky we are here in Israel, having lots of birds passing through to and fro, twice yearly. But still the same law applies: nature and hurry never go together.
    If you want to see it working, take your time… or give up.
    I became a bird watcher after some long hours of fishing in a near-by creek, and being astonished at the things that appeared when I was not expecting them. Then I started reading about birds, bought the glasses and guides, and created a connection with nature that was missing in my urban youth.

  • Alex Jones

    Often my adventures with nature are accidental and sudden, which is how often it works with nature. Too many times to count I rue my lack of camera, and even if I had my camera the incident is too fast to record it.

    Of all those “tourists”, they are separated from nature and asleep, they rush around with the idea of instant gratification, they miss the wonders if they even see it.

  • Terra Maple Forester

    I think your observation is applicable in many areas. For example, we may glance at a person and see ugliness or carelessness, but then if we stay and watch and listen, we may see how that person loves and is loved. Or art or architecture or music may hold beauty that we only see if we have patience.

    For me, an essential part of druidry is slowing down and being patient. In druidry, it’s not like you just read a book and then you know the material and can move on. In druidry, the learning is a lifelong process.

    The word “hide” was a bit confusing, I don’t think we use the word that way in the United States, but I think I pretty much figured out what you were talking about.

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