Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I Believe in the Lesson's in Nature

I was tasked earlier in the year with writing a "This I Believe" essay. I heard my first "This I Believe" essay in 2006, with the passing of my friend, Michelle Gardner Quinn and it was one of the last writings she had left behind. It described her reverence in nature and for all living things. It was an incredibly powerful essay, for many reasons, and when I was asked to write one of my own I couldn't help but reflect back. 

My assignment was to relate my relationship with nature to lessons that I have learned from it. Since, it relates to my family, the roots of my love for the woods, and our future as a family, I thought posting it here would suit.. It is purposely short, under 500 words, and here it goes...

 I Believe in the Lesson's in Nature

I believe in the lesson’s in nature. It teaches me that change is constant, peace is found within and that my past and future is intertwined with the natural world.

 When I was young, I walked in the forest behind my home. The woods were filled with oak, maple, poplar and pine trees. They line old two-track roads. They split the rock walls. They stood as tall as my imagination. I thought they had been there forever. I walked these woods in each season: spring, summer, fall and winter. Also through the seasons of my life: child, teen, and adult. Each season gave perspective on my relationship with the natural world.

As a child, I built a treehouse just outside of my mother’s yell. Three knotty pines held up three 2x4s that would be the foundation of the roof. I used old tongue and groove boards to make a ladder. I used the ladder to carry boards up and laid them across the 2x4s. I posted a reclaimed sign at the ladder. It read, “Ski Patrol Only.” Later, when I visited I cleared the pine needles. When I left the pines reclaimed it. Water and moss set into boards and there was nothing I could do. That was how I learned that nothing in nature is ever mine.

As a teenager, I knew the woods from the back of my horse. I raced home after school to saddle up. My horse and those woods were solitude. I concentrated on the leaves, the alders, and the woodpeckers living around me. We usually walked but sometimes we raced against ourselves and the wind. The spaces between the trees offered peace. Each ride was a chance to just be and I returned rejuvenated; closer to who I am.  

As an adult, I walk the woods with my family. I no longer have my horse. My treehouse has been reclaimed by the forest. The trees are still standing and their canopies ever expanding. Woodpeckers still make it their home. My memories rush back. I reflect and feel saddened. My life has changed so much and the forest so little. I realize that this forest is weaved into who I have become. It has offered me a place to create and learn. In moments of solitude, it harnessed a deep respect of the natural world within me.

Soon, I’ll trim the branches of the trees and watch their seedlings grown. I’ll preserve this piece of earth so that my child may build a treehouse and see it from the back of a horse. Maybe one day he’ll walk the spaces between the trees with a family of his own.

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