What is Nature?

Why is it that people only think of forests when they think of nature?

So I was reading an article in Joel Salatin's blog today and he alluded to a point that I'd like to echo. When you ask someone to picture nature almost everyone will think of an area filled with beautiful green trees, sunny sky, flowing water, birds chirping, and young deer off in the distance or something like that. Why is it that everyone's default image of nature is a forest in the springtime?

I was blessed to grow up in an area with a rather diverse array of ecosystems nearby. To the west there was forest but to the east there was desert traveling north you could find a variety of hot springs and other pieces of landscape created by geothermal activity and to the south you could find yourself in various meadows. There were slopes to ski in the winter, rivers to float in the spring, beaches to visit in the summer and mountains to climb in the fall. No matter what time of year is was or what direction I traveled I could find a different brand of nature to get lost in.

Honestly I get tired of seeing pictures of forests, yeah they're cool and all but at least to me if you spend enough time in them they get repetitive, you're never able to see very far and all the hiking trails in the forest take you to lakes or lookouts where you can see more stuff, the point of the trails in the forest is to get you to a spot outside the forest. I've been in a lot of beautiful deserts and a lot of ugly forests.

Of course I'm not trying to discount how nice it is to be in a forest but you can feel that same sort of feeling in whatever kind of nature you find yourself in. Find a regular time to escape the monotony of being couped up indoors in an urban environment, go to someplace close by where you can get lost in nature, somewhere close to your house whether it be a forest or a desert or a field, use this time to forget about the draw of the city and think about the things that really matter. I'm not trying to sound like a hippie but it is important for us to take ourselves away from the distractions present in our modern world.