Biophilia, Connection & Nurturing Life’s GardenApr 24, 2018
Photograph by Christine Moss
True healing, health and vibrancy comes from connection: to ourselves, others and our natural environment
By Chef Christine Moss, Chef, The Garden Café Woodstock
Biophilia: a human tendency to interact or be closely associated with other forms of life in nature
— Merriam-Webster Dictionary
My first encounter with the word Biophilia was Bjork’s album and concert of the same name in 2011 at the Hall of Science in Queens, New York. Not only was Bjork a lifelong musical love of mine, the fact that her then latest work was about the love of life itself and the interconnectedness of all of nature was more than a dream come true. It was then that biophilia took root in the background of all of my creative and contemplative thoughts.
Fast forward a few years and biophilia made its appearance again in my life, this time at a residency in Ottawa that offered an immersion in biology for artists. The week was spent exploring the back room collections of the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes, and a wild bird rescue sanctuary. We spent hours in the woods hunting for and observing mushrooms. At night we learned about the beautiful yet fragile composition of moth wings.
During downtime we were able to swim in the Gatineau river. I overcame my fear of swimming through tall grasses, a fear I didn’t even know I had until confronted by the slowly swaying tall green fronds under the clear blue water. A moment of struggle or panic and the leaves wound themselves around my ankles holding on like tentacles in some anime nightmare. Swimming slowly, gently, they magically parted ways until the water opened up towards the center. Our final day was spent with an herbalist and forager who shared with us her knowledge of delicious and healing wild herbs, nuts and fruits.
Photograph by Christine Moss
When I think about biophilia now, I still search for the words to describe feelings buried deep within the roots of my bones — to its role in my life, the connections it's made, weaving in and out of my story.
The color of the light changes as the sun sets and it pulls me outdoors to admire the evening glow. I think about how it only takes a moment to connect our spirit with nature just by appreciating the small moments. How important it is to spend time with others, and to honor our need and longing of wholeness by bringing nature inside of us.
I am so happy to see there is a trend of re-wilding, remembering and reconnecting — an honoring of our natural world and its role in our lives. For me, this naturally includes the foods that we eat. You can live in any environment and still connect with nature through eating fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs…or by merely standing in its presence. We are connected to nature and yearn for its healing energy and essence.
Biophilia Artists Residency in Ottawa
Biophilia music project started by Bjork to teach music and science together
Book inspired by the work of Edward O. Wilson (The Biophilia Hypothesis) and Eric Fromm: Clemens Arvay's, The Biophilia Effect: A Scientific and Spiritual Exploration of the Healing Bond Between Humans and Nature