The Brain "on" Nature: out of reach on the river, then back in the rim world
article by Matt Richtel about five neuroscientists who spent a week rafting the San Juan River in southern Utah. They were "Outdoors and Out of Reach, Studying the Brain," doing a field study on the river to better understand how heavy use of digital devices affect how we think and behave.
During our pre-trip dinner the night before my women-only trip launched, I talked with the women about the sense of relaxation that seems to flood the body by the second day. "I think it's because, when we're sheltered by the canyon walls and the electromagnetic waves that bombard us every moment on the 'rim world' can't reach us, our bodies can let down their defensive shields. And when we let down our defenses, we remember, at a cellular level, that we are made of the same stuff from which the cliffs are made--the same rhythms that move the river, move us."
electromagnetic spectrum reaches a certain intensity, the human body recoils from it. On the last day of our five-day river trip, I told the women, "You might find that you're dizzy when you get off the river--like the world is spinning, or you've got vertigo, or your senses are being bombarded. Re-entry can be difficult, so be gentle to your body. Seek quiet places. Seek natural lighting. Surround yourself with the sounds of birds and the rustling of leaves."
It's easy to forget that we, too, are organic--made of all natural ingredients, that our brains do best when fed a diet more akin to the sounds of a forest, than the sounds of a 60-second sound-bite. Sand sculpture by Roxanne Swentzell, featured guest artist from the Santa Clara Pueblo. To view more of Roxanne's art, go to www.roxanneswentzell.net.
The 2010 5-day River Writing and Sculpting Journey for Women took place in Westwater Canyon, Utah. Contact Page to have your name added to her mailing list in order to receive news releases on the 2011 river trip.