By Terrah Baker
One of my first loves was nature. The trees that I climbed, the mud that I played in, the tadpoles that swam in the pools in the drainage ditches and construction sites around my subdivision, the tree hollows I hid treasures in, the woods I pretended to live in, the creek that offered coolness in the summer and a slippery ice rink in the winter — just thinking about it takes me back to a simpler, peaceful, magical place in my mind.
It wasn’t until I reached an age where I was expected to pull away from my natural ways as much as possible that I lost touch with this magic. I was expected, like most people, to always smell like some mall fragrance, to have no wrinkles in my clothes, to have my hair primped, and my make up done, and my shoes clean and my homework neat and straight in my unscratched folder. I never could fulfill these standards, and few do, but I felt it was my obligation to try. While I didn’t realize these were arbitrary rules that need not apply to me, I also didn’t realize the impacts to my psyche of separating myself from my natural world.
These things took me away from the magic of my own innate love of nature, of being outdoors, of being dirty, of smelling like dirt and plants and fresh sweat from a summer evening run or bike ride. They took me away from my wholeness, from my OKness, from my personal beauty that was my own, that nature had created. These fabricated realities took away my curiosity for the world around me, and in the end I feel confident in saying it caused me stress and confusion — as it does many people.
This Earth Day, take yourself back to the times when you felt nature as it were your own friend. Feel it as the friend that comforted you, fed you, clothed you, brought you beauty, joy, and pleasure. The most beautiful gift we can give ourselves in our lifetime is to once again realize we are a part of the natural world, sprung from it, and it is a part of us that we can not, and should not, deny.
Take yourself out of the chaos of our fabricated world and society, and for just a few minutes sit by a creek, a tree or even just look out your front window and listen to the birds, the squirrels, the frogs. This is your home. This is where you belong. This is where you will find your happiness. It’s all there. Now celebrate it! Happy Earth Day everyone!!