The term “biophilia” was until recently new to me. I learned of it from the hauler of an unusual trailer. When I saw the trailer during a recent campground stay, I could not help but stop and stare. Ray Ward soon stepped out of the trailer and introduced himself as one of the owners of Sky Factory.
My first question of course was “What is Sky Factory?” Ray went on to explain that new research in the field of biophilia (which literally means “love of life or living systems”) “indicates that access to nature or nature imagery supports healing, reduces stress and anxiety, and reduces the use of pain medications in health care settings.” Sky Factory is in the business of installing SkyCeilings in health care environments.
It made sense that a representative of Sky Factory would be camping in his popup camper truck that pulled his trailer rather than in a hotel. After all, Ray admitted that he loves nature and is invested in making windowless buildings and rooms more nature-like for those confined to working or recovering from illness in them.
Ray invited me into the showroom trailer. I was impressed with what I saw. I was awestruck though by the Digital Cinema experience that he played for me while I sat in an easy chair. Within moments, I felt totally related and comfortable. I watched and heard waves lapping in on a sandy beach at sunset, a brook babbling through the forest and fish swimming in a bubbling fish tank. It was totally a three-D experience without three-D glasses. It was hypnotic.
I’ve long known I was a biophiliac. I just didn’t know the name for it. I love nature. I need nature. I have camped often throughout my entire adult life. And I hope that should I find myself trapped and working in a windowless building for long hours or recovering in a hospital that there will be SkyCeilings and Digital Cinema imagery. I have no doubt how critical nature is for me in my daily life. I’d wither away without it. I know. I lived in a crowded city for many years and was eventually emotionally driven to escape to a location with greater access to the outdoors (permanently).
If your recreation is found in experiencing nature on a regular basis but you also work for a living, here might be a way to keep the feeling of nature close at home or at work. How biophilic are you?
Author Levonne Gaddy’s book “This Restless Life: A dream chased through California parks in an RV” chronicles her relocation adventures from the Southwest to Central Coast California during the Great Recession of 2008-2009. They encounter many twists and turns including a dead body found near their camp hosting camp site, problems finding work and multiple threats of floods. @Levonnegaddy
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