Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I recently read an article that speculates that "many of our modern-day mental problems, including depression, stress and anxiety, can be traced in part to society's increasing alienation from nature." We evolved in sync with the air, water, plants, animals, and we're hard-wired to interact with them. Since the Industrial Revolution, though, we've started getting up to the alarm clock, not sunrise. Technology only makes it worse; some cubicle-dwellers rarely see the daytime sky, then go home to sit indoors and watch TV.
So what does that have to do with living on a boat? The article goes on to say that many Americans can spend as little as 15-30 minutes per day outdoors (walking to their car, no doubt). Living aboard both enables and forces us to spend lots of great time connected to nature in ways we never were when we lived in a house. There's sitting in the sunny cockpit with morning coffee watching the day begin, or sleeping in the V-berth under an open hatch watching the stars and moon. For the rest, even when we're tied up in the slip we're made aware of nature and its cycles. We know the rise and fall of the tide, as the boat moves. We know the strength of the wind and whether it's calm or rough on the water - in extreme cases things slide off countertops and tables. The patter of rain is loud with only a thin shell of fiberglass between us and it. I don't know how strong a force "eco-depression" is if one is isolated from nature ... but I know that the alternative, living on a boat, in touch with nature, makes me very happy!

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