Day 10: Nature

How could I ever leave out the beauty right outside the door? That would be quite silly of me.

I must say, I’m not the most outdoorsy person. I’m basically cold-blooded, but I also don’t sweat, so I would probably never know if I was having a heat stroke or not. That’s beside the point. Living such a touristy state staying afloat from people hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, boating and whatever else people do, I do none of those things. The one time I fished, I was too distraught by accidentally killing one to ever do it again. I love going on walks and blowing bubbles outside and swinging on a swing set, but it’s not necessarily my first instinct to want to go outside. If that makes me slightly a hermit, then so be it.

Out of all of my day-to-day activities, one of the things that almost automatically goes by me without even noticing it’s there are my natural surroundings. I’m usually so lost in my own head that I forget to really look at the environment I’m walking through.

Occasionally, certainly not as often as I would like to, I take mindful walks. I feel the weight shifting between each footstep I take. I smell any of the scents lingering in the air. I feel any sort of breeze on my face. I feel the steady earth beneath my feet. I actually devote my time to look around and really observe the strong trees, the delicate leaves growing from their branches. Any little animals and insects that I pass by, just going about their days. In the warmer months, there’s the vibrant flowers that bloom and the lush green carpets of grass. The clouds floating up in the atmosphere against a canvas splashed with various shades of blue or grey.

I’m not a science person. I took biology because I hate anything involving math. But my limited knowledge doesn’t hinder my ability to appreciate just how complex and beautiful nature is. Whatever you think designed nature or how it evolved, you can’t help but be in awe of all the little details. How every falling snowflake has a different intricate pattern. How amusing it is to watch how raindrops “race” each other along the windows of driving cars. How a stormy night can provide the most peaceful backdrop of lightning flashes and pounding thunder, a steady rain beating against the walls. And in those stormier times, how firm the oldest trees stand, long channels of roots ground into the soul, staying steady against the multiple personalities of Mother Nature.

So in light of appreciating all of these details and the big picture of every living organism interdependent on one another, I must also mention how much I appreciate those dedicated to alleviating the stress society puts on these precious gifts. How the wastes we dump and smog we produce all have an impact on the living things that cannot speak for themselves. And if the solutions every person can do is simply turning off the facet and light switch more often, or recycling more materials every day, there is no logical reason why we can’t do them. Sustainability efforts aren’t just about us. They are every single living organism, now and in the future. We cannot sit idly and forget how to appreciate the beautiful world we live in.

Call me the Lorax because I will always speak for the trees. And the waters and plants and animals and everything living thing in between. I believe every single person deserves to live in an environment that is alive, that every future generation can also live in an environment with tall, lush forests and clean air and roaming wildlife. We cannot have healthy people without a healthy environment. Just as people should be treated with respect, so should the air and trees and animals.

Thank you, nature, for giving me life through the oxygen I breathe and the plants I eat. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to change and evolve and stay firm in the sign of a dark storm cloud brewing. Thank you for days full of sunlight and mild temperatures. Thank you for days shrouded in grey and steady rain. Thank you for days with gentle snowfall. Thank you for your warm autumn foliage and budding regrowth in the spring.

Most importantly, thank you for enduring through the most severe storm of all: humanity. With all of the gratitude I give to the life surrounding me, I sincerely hope that others find gratitude, as well. That we can all work together to display that gratitude in every way possible. While I’m thankful for the delay in fall-like temperatures in my town this year, the warm temperatures slightly worry me as to how much our actions are affecting nature. With all of the gratitude we should have for nature, let’s start taking care of it as it deserves to be, like a precious gift we cannot afford to neglect. I’m thankful for every effort made to improving the current situation, and I will be thankful as more people take a stand.

At the center of sustainable action is first and foremost gratitude. When we can turn a thank you into a thought into a plan, that is true change.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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