Nature: One Person's Perspective
When I was younger, I spent a great deal of time outside. Summer days you could find me climbing trees, chasing butterflies or picking whatever was ready to be harvested in my grandparent’s expansive garden. The things that entice children to stay indoors were not really factors then- television, video games, movies. My favorite childhood nature spot was probably out by my dad’s old house he grew up in. It has long since been vacated by people, but my dad used to take us out there to nature walk in the spring. I can remember morel mushroom hunting with him and finding special plants like the Jack-In-the-Pulpit. These adventures were always educational as I learned where mushrooms grew and how to take care not to disrupt animals or plants just there minding their own business.
Some of my favorite outings we use to take were to places like Devil’s Lake and Black Hawk Lake. You can swim and hike and take in the majesty of nature. Devil’s Lake especially has exquisite places to look down over the land and take in the all that nature has to offer. I don’t get to these places nearly enough anymore but I still can remember the beauty of it. As I have gotten older and realize now more than ever that I miss living with wide open spaces. No longer do I enjoy living in town with so many neighbors just a few steps away. The serenity of being in the country is so soothing and comforting to me. Not too many years ago, my father purchased a 100 year old farmhouse. He gutted the house and rebuilt it from the inside out. Well, the house is spectacular but it equals in comparison to the land he lives on. Firstly, he owns several acres and many of them have been designated wildlife preserves so he is able to keep much of it as pure as possible. I enjoy being there so much because I feel closer to nature, with birds singing and animals scampering about. There is just something different about having the wide open sky there at night when all the stars are sparkling in their glory while the moon casts its shine down on me. Needless to say, when my youngest child graduates, we are going to try to move out of town onto a road less traveled. We look forward to finding our peace and harmony with nature.
There are a few environmental events that have impacted the way I view nature, one being all of the flooding my family endured living in a floodplain. There is one specific time I can remember the Kickapoo River rising so swiftly that our basement was full to the top! We lost everything that was down there. I vividly remember our stack of firewood floating through the backyard across town. What a horrible mess that was. The flooding has taught me never to underestimate what can happen in nature and I have great respect for it. The other event that I still think about is the hurricanes that nearly destroyed Honduras and the Gulf Coast. My sister-in-law is from Honduras and I felt her pain when she told me how so many people were left with nothing. As an American, we are blessed with so many opportunities and luxuries that many countries don’t get to experience. Shortly after this, I remember making a decision to sponsor a child from Honduras. My “adopted” daughter from Honduras is 6 years old and living in a metal structure with dirt floors and 1 room that she shares with her family. I like to think that I have improved her life, even if in the smallest measure. Although we take these things for granted as children it’s important to gain a sense of importance as we get older.
Firstly, it’s important to E N J O Y nature! Get outside, take a walk, go for a bike ride. Whatever you enjoy doing, get out there and soak in the sunshine and L I V E ! It’s too easy to get caught up in the technologies of today and forget about the beautiful world out there waiting for us. Next, think of what’s important to you- for example, if you enjoy your local park see what you can do to improve it. Maybe you can help clean up the litter or volunteer to plant flowers. Some communities work together to raise money for new equipment such as benches or playground equipment. Another great thing you can do is educate your children and grandchildren. Teaching your children to appreciate nature will foster a lifetime outdoor enthusiast and a nature ambassador.
I encourage you to get outside and take a closer look at all the beauty around you. It’s virtually everywhere.
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