Same but different

Part three in my interview series. In this series of blog posts I’m researching the impact of nature. I realized that I have my perception of nature and I know what it means to me, but I’m really curious how others think about it. I’m hoping to collect many stories. Maybe in the end I have enough material to make some interesting conclusions. But there’s only one way to really find out.

This time I’d like to introduce you to my dad.

He is in his seventies now, but still very active. If he isn’t working in the garden or helping any of his kids out with whatever they need help with, he’s out riding his bike or walking through the huge park area close to home. When we were younger, and sometimes still nowadays, he tries to drag us along to go to the beach and have a nice walk there.

He’s the son of a gardener and decided at a young age that he didn’t want a profession like that, ever. In that time lawns in a park were a thing to look at, not play on. So my grandfather had to keep the kids from playing football on the gras. Of course the kids then resorted to making fun of my grandfather and my father. My dad ended up reaching a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. I can’t remember anything else than my dad making bridges. He retired as the senior manager of bridges in Zaanstad municipality. With this in mind I was curious to find out how he would reply to my questions. I’m happy with the result, I hope you like it too.

Can you define nature?

That is a very good question, of course. Nature is everything that is not built-up and not asphalt. That’s how I look at it.

How does nature affect your life?

I don’t think I can live without the nice outdoor space. Instead of the urban environment, I would really like to be in nature. Especially when it is water and not confined in the woods.

You prefer to be out in the open?

Yes

What does nature mean to you?

That’s a profound question. I think, in particular, it will keep me healthy and happy. Every time I go out, I see that things are slightly different. Even if you are in exactly the same area, it is slightly different. That’s what makes it so much fun. That makes me happy.

So your mental health depends a lot on nature?

Yes, it is very good for a healty mental state.

What’s your favourite piece of nature?

Look, we live quite nicely in this area (close to nature and recreation area Het Twiske). Nature in this area, also because of the space, is very nice. But it is really fun to end up on top of a mountain and have a wide view of everything that is in the area.

So the bigger the view the better?

Yes, the bigger the view the better.

What activity do you prefer to do in nature?

Sailing is a lot of fun when possible, but cycling is also great fun.

You used to hike a lot, has that changed over time?

This has to do with my joints starting to protest a bit. So cycling is more pleasurable than walking.

So if you hadn’t had those complaints, would you rather hike?

I think so. By the way, making use of nature in all different ways. For instance in the water for a nice swim, or sailing on the water.

So especially the diversity of activities?

Yes

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