While I am a bit of a granola and I like a nice sunny day, I wouldn't say that I'm much of a "nature" girl. I've never been camping like "real" camping. Where you sleep in a tent and a sleeping bag with only the trees and stars and BUGS. I don't do a lot of hiking in forest preserves here in Illinois. I've never climbed a big mountain, I don't think.
But I spend time in the mountains of South Dakota. I spent a summer as a camp counselor at a camp where there were tons of trees and a giant lake. I went to Wisconsin with a friend and we went on a long ASS walk through a wintery forest that led to a water fall. I have happened upon rivers and ponds. I've seen the sky in all its glory. When it rains, sometimes I cry. I clearly remember the first time I swam in the ocean. And my Aunt's ranch and farm in Tennessee reminds me of all that is good in the world.
So while I don't own a pair of hiking boots, there is something that still draws me to nature. When ever I am surrounded by water or trees or standing in an open field or on the edge of a cliff, I literally feel god. I breathe him. I hear him. I smell and taste him.
I remember once after having a near break down in an open field in South Dakota the peace that later ensued. Earlier in the day a group of theater students were playing volleyball in this large open field surrounded by mountains. I remember walking on the open field and taking the entire scene in. At once I felt connected to nature. But then I remember something about nature and all the grass and dirt reminded me that a friend of mine had died the year before and his body was beneath the dirt. And I lost a bit of my grip of reality and couldn't think straight. And as people were playing volleyball, I freaked out! A little while later a few women and I went on a walk up the mountain. We arrived at the edge of a cliff where if you went to far you could fall to your death which reminded me of another friend who had died two years before in a hiking/climbing accident. Which also reminded me of Todd Skinner.
And I was just not feeling peaceful at all. But then we sat on the edge of the cliff and three of the women began singing hymns. Not the churchy ones. But the ones that tie you to this earth and tie you to god. And that moment was perfection. Nothing could have soothed my spirit like the sound of the water below, the wind in the trees, and their voices singing. I need moments like that.
I need my Aunt's farm....
I mean my real issue with "nature" is the bugs. I just don't like bugs. Except the Orchid Mantis. Now that is a BUG. If you are going to be a bug, you should be an Orchid Mantis.
I digress. Nature plays a big part in my life despite my city dweller status. At least once a year I escape somewhere to get back to earth whether its to the ocean, to a farm, to a mountain, to a national park. I go somewhere that isn't man made and I remember there is something bigger than me.
I forget that as permanant as nature should be, these moments of oneness with the earth that I enjoy so much are dwindling if we continue on our current course of action. Who would think that the trash I produce, the food I consume, the water and energy that I use could be linked the the likely disappearance of the ocean and mountains and trees that I cherish so much. They go hand in hand.
In the past few years there have been all sorts of natural disasters. I believe some of these "natural" disasters are due to man's careless disregard for the earth. Among these natural disasters has been the deforestation of many parts of the world due to fires, man's own greed and many other reasons. The thought of losing trees and never having them back is so weird to me. But its not foreign.
What can be done?
Along with finding ways to live a more sustainable life, we can also do things like plant a tree! As cheesy as it sounds like naming a star, it is still a practical step towards returning the earth to a more harmonious state.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could plant a mountain too? And an ocean? And a park and a beach. Well, I suppose you can. you can volunteer and be a part of a team that does ocean clean up or something. There are many hands on ways you help. Or you can have an organization plant a tree. For you or as a gift for someone else.
There are three organizations I know of that plant trees.
Arbor Day Foundation
The Nature Conservancy
I personally like Trees for a Change because more of a grassroots effort started by a woman who would glitterfy pine cones as a child and try to sell them. I like her organization as well because the trees they plant are within U.S. National Forest to replace trees destroyed by wildfire, disease or insects. I had no clue until reading their website the sheer volume of trees and acres of land that are in need of reforestation.
There are all kinds of things you can do big and small towards living a more sustainable life. If there were a list of things to do, I'm pretty sure planting a tree or having an organization do it for you would make the top 100 sustainable things and individual could do.
Have you ever planted a tree? Do you know of other organizations similar to the ones listed above? Do you think having a tree planted is too cheesy?