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spain pyreness mountain sunset

Living a simple life in the Spanish mountains

Modern life can be complex, busy, and demand-filled. As gardeners, we know connecting with nature is a good way to slow down life and simplify it to a speed that’s easier to handle. But is it possible to slow it down even further by stripping it back to the elements?

We’re happy to share that yes, it is possible, via this short film, created by Toronto-based artist Joana Betzner.

In harmony with the earth

Filmmaker and artist Joana Betzner’s early years were spent living a simple life, deeply connected to nature.

In a 400 year-old family cabin in Spain’s Pyrenees mountains, Joana grew up disconnected from much of modern life. She explored a rugged landscape of mountain wildflower fields and rocky outcroppings, “in silence, observing the miracle of being alive.”

This upbringing shaped the way Joana views the world. Her filmmaking and photography are influenced by a desire to live and work harmoniously with the earth.

A simple day in the life

In her short film, Joana shares her lovely rituals of living with nature, during a day spent on her mountain. As she spends a sequence of interconnected moments in harmony with her environment, so do we. We get a glimpse into what a pared-down life might look like, as she puts into practice how simple techniques of mindful living can create ease.

As we contemplate a mountain stream with Joana, it’s possible to feel life slowing down to the pace of its flowing water.

In another moment in the film, planting a tree gives us the opportunity to quietly celebrate as its roots become a part of the earth, nourished by forces and elements from nature’s depths.

And time slows down even further as we share in the ritual building a fire, heating water and brewing an herbal tea — using herbs and flowers grown, harvested and dried steps away from the cabin.

We're all part of nature

The film’s lovely final message will resonate with any of us who yearn to live a simpler life.

We are all made of the same material.
Plants, animals, the earth, the sea —
We all transform by becoming each other.
We are all part of nature’s cycle.

Equally important, it serves as a reminder that making time to be outside in the natural world via a walk in a park, exploring woods and nature trails, or even in the quiet admiration of the ever-growing life of a houseplant can provide boundless benefit and sustenance.

yellow petaled flower by elias sorey unsplash

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