We have a lot to learn in finding harmony with nature. We-meaning HUMANS-have much to learn! With all of the wonders of technology, humanity has become so removed from the natural realm. Something which should be so natural. Yet, is made to be so hard.

When we think about the term wildlife, wild is presented as this foreign concept. The notion of wild being “untamed” and “savage,” as it relates to other animals, is slowly and surely highlighting humanity’s ignorance to the rest of the animal kingdom. That anything we don’t understand is primitive, and “inferior” to our level of “greatness.” Human beings fail to recognize the emotions and sensitivity that is within the wild. That, in the wild, there is. . .Love! Perhaps, human beings are so quick to negate the wilderness because of our inferiority complex in wanting to have dominion over it, and our inability to do so. We want to “prove” that we are always in charge; that nature abides to our will. And, should she choose to “disobey,” then we must “make her pay.” She, and every other living thing, which has found harmony within her womb.

(Photograph By Paula Froelich; Edits By Lauren K. Clark)

Wildlife forces human beings to be humble. Our egos are shattered. We are humbled to view ourselves as relying on the Earth; as another species, who depends on it, and is meant to find harmony with it. Which means our position is created to ensure, that we share with other animals and life forms. And yet, humanity, as a whole, has failed, miserably.

In addition to our own egos, perhaps we have become removed, and invisible, to just how gentle the wild can be. Perhaps, its our approach to the wild, which makes it violent. Our lack of respect for nature, and her natural tranquility, is what makes it dangerous. When we disturb her harmony, her balance, her nourishment, AND her slumber, she shows her disdain for humanity’s presence. Perhaps, the hostility against human existence, in the wild, is nothing more than a reflection of humanity’s own savagery. The human species’ own barbaric behavior, in our violent quest to “have dominion” over the Earth. And those people of the “uncivilized” world are punished for their “audacity” to show how we can co-exist, and reflect humanity’s love, with the Earth. Treat her with respect and care, and in her domain, you will be. . .spared. And cared, for!

As we return back to the nation of Rwanda, our darling. . .

Paula Froelich

. . .gifts us with another photographic window, surrounding the loving tranquility of Rwanda’s very own. . .wildlife. This time we are given front row seating into the familial culture of gorillas. Their sense of humor, care for their children, and overall presence in the mountains of Rwanda.

(Source: https://adventure.com/contributor/paula-froelich/)
(Photograph By Paula Froelich; Edits By Lauren K. Clark)
(Photograph By Paula Froelich; Edits By Lauren K. Clark)

Examining these photos, I become even more delved into how this adventure of Paula Froelich seems as if we are going back in time. Froelich’s presence in capturing these images are the living fruits of labor and legacy for the work of the late American primatologist and conservationist, Dian Fossey. Her book Gorillas In The Midst, was the inspiration for a film (1988, starring Sigourney Weaver) on her life in Rwanda and her lifelong dedication (and sacrifice) in saving the mountain gorillas of this nation. Interesting enough Volcanoes National Park was her final resting place (December 26, 1985). As a little girl, I remember learning about Dian Fossey, through viewing the film with my Mother. And fulfilling enough, Volcanoes National Park is one of the places where our author and travel journalist visited, during her recent travel to this country. Fossey was one of those special Spirits, in the West, who found harmony with nature. She documented this harmony and presented it for the Western gaze. In turn, “mainstream” Americans, and Europeans, alike, were able to view themselves in a different facet when interacting with the wildlife of the “African jungle.” A grand contrast to those dominant images of hunting nature’s wildlife for sport.

Dian Fossey in the wild with Mountain Gorillas. (Source: https://blog.nationalgeographic.org/2018/01/24/dian-fossey-gave-her-life-for-the-conservation-of-rare-mountain-gorillas/)
(Source: https://www.gorillas.org/about-gorilla/dian-fossey/)
(Source: http://gorilla.safari.co.za/dian-fossey.html)

What is rather telling, and nurturing for Paula Froelich’s visit to this particular area of Rwanda (and capturing these moments) is that it revives the Spirit of Dian Fossey, her legacy, and her lessons in reminding the Western world of humanity’s responsibility to find peace with nature; and the animals laying within her. Human beings are not as “superior” as we like to think. And nature has a way of humbling us should we choose to get out of line. Unfortunately, in our arrogance and human ego, many have not understood that. Its only a matter of time before they learn that. . .the hard way. However, its the Dian Fosseys, and Paula Froelichs, who use their work as gentle reminders to the human species. That memo of doing the healing work in viewing animals as worthy of empathy, love, tenderness, and affection. The healing work needing to be done, in order for humanity to understand that we need a reality check. We are not separate from the Earth. And, that perhaps, just perhaps, the reason why humanity (especially, many of the urban, industrialized areas) is facing a mental health crisis, emotional instability, and the like, is because we have removed ourselves from Earth’s natural stabilities. Perhaps, this is the reason. Many spend thousands, if not millions, of dollars on counseling sessions with professionals, in closed room environments-only to still have difficulty in finding any solution to their problems. No shade to therapists or psychologists, but nature should be part of the healing process.

(Photograph By Paula Froelich; Edits By Lauren K. Clark)

Examining the photos of gorilla culture in Rwanda, as taken by Paula Froelich, one begins to imagine just what she is thinking. The amazement of seeing baby gorillas being nourished by their mothers. To be up close and personal with a family of gorillas. Mother gorillas having to scold their children when they act naughty. Father gorillas protecting their families, and exerting their authority over the rest of their troop. While Froelich observes them, I wonder what are their thoughts as they observe her? Do they not mind her company simply because she embodies that very same energy as Dian Fossey? That unique Spirit, and “unique foreigner,” who does not come with a violent Spirit of dominance. Or that foreign feminine, who has not removed herself from nature’s stability. Thereby, her presence is welcomed in their world. By getting close, and capturing their presence, did Paula Froelich’s aura remind them of Dian Fossey? Were there glimpses of Dian in Paula? Sometimes there are those individuals, who are sent on a particular journey, in order to re-vive the energy of those, who came before. This appears to be one of those moments.

(Photograph By Paula Froelich; Edits By Lauren K. Clark)

Nature is our first teacher. It is through her, where we learn our natural state of movement, sensitivity, and interaction among other living Beings. She teaches our gentility. She shows us how we establish balance in the just system of give and take. Replenishing that, which we have used. As long as we understand (and perform) these laws, we are welcomed. She will even bless us with her gifts and abundance, care for us, and ensure that we are healthy in her womb. I think its safe to say that she would rather have that relationship with us. It is actually the natural way.

Our tendency as humans to dominate over nature is why many in the Western hemisphere are dealing with the epidemic of burn-out and stress. Wanting to feel that we are always in control has removed us from the natural healing remedies of Earth’s fruition. We are learning the hard way that unnatural systems cause illness. What we do to nature, our environments, and the Earth. . .we do to ourselves.

So, in another reflection of New York Times Best-Selling author and former Editor-In-Chief of Yahoo Travel, Paula Froelich’s visit to Rwanda, we can only help, but to imagine the healing factor that took place. How was Paula centered and transformed, when coming across this family of gorillas? Were out-dated thought patterns and beliefs shattered upon her interaction with them? I’m sure that’s for her own personal storybook to tell. This particular take also continues to amplify the beauty of Rwanda, in their ongoing success stories of finding harmony with nature, while developing the nation of Rwanda. Yet, her images provides us with ample opportunities for imagination. Our questions become answered. Leading us for more clarity in the midst of our own healing.

(Photograph By Paula Froelich; Edits By Lauren K. Clark)
(Photograph By Paula Froelich; Edits By Lauren K. Clark)
(Source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Dian-Fossey)

For more information on the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, kindly click on the following link: https://gorillafund.org/

For more updates on Paula Froelich and her travels, you can go to the following: Twitter: @Pfro, https://adventure.com/contributor/paula-froelich/, http://www.abroadabroad.com/