Many people don't give much thought to leaves. A leaf is part of a plant…it's green….sometimes they turn colors….they make a mess in my backyard…yaddda yadda yadda. But I'm one of those people who can't help but turn my attention to leaves. It's almost like they call out to me saying, "Hey Leigh…over here…notice me! Check out my cool swirls and delicate edge. If you will just look closely at me you will find a whole new world!". Seriously…I hear voices. Ok maybe not voices…but my eye is just naturally drawn to the nature world around me. And it's not just leaves that call out, but petals and seed pods and bark and tree silhouettes. I have this need to be in nature. The best cure for feeling down is to breathe in some fresh air, surround myself with gorgeous greens, feel the warmth of the sunshine and listen to the birds.
While preparing for this post I started to wonder if anyone else felt the same way I do. I discovered that there is actually a word for it. It's called biophilia or an attraction to nature. When you experience a sense of well being and relaxation while walking through a park or garden, that may be biophilia. The Biophilia Hypothesis suggests that there is an "instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems." This term was first used by Erich Fromm to describe a psychological orientation of being attracted to all that is alive and vital. Unlike phobias, which are aversions and fears, philias are the attractions and positive feelings that people have. In this day and age people spend the majority of their time indoors and children spend more time on electronic devices than outdoors in nature. This is why biophilic design is more important than ever. As a landscape designer (kind of obvious now why I chose that career) I am finding more and more people wanting outdoor rooms. It's not just about curb appeal anymore it's a desire to spend more time living outside. Our physical and mental well being need this time in nature. For me, my sanity depends on it!
"Just living is not enough…one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."
Hans Christian Andersen