Unity With Nature Makes You a Better Person
It?s undeniable. Humans have become obscenely disconnected from the natural world, but the truth is that it?s our origin, and we function better both as individuals and as a species when we embrace that.
It began for me in the summer of 2006. My boyfriend and I were bored, so we decided to plan a camping trip somewhere new, maybe Big Bend. After a few hours at the city library with an atlas, a guidebook, and plenty of awe-inspiring Google Image searches, we had turned our ?camping? trip into something much more?a journey to most of the National parks in the West, a giant loop around the left half of the country. I was thrilled, but I didn?t think we would actually ever do it in the beginning. Where would 2 college students just done with their freshman year get the money to take a six week trip around the West? Especially when their parents would be donating NO money to this cause (considering that at least MY mother was afraid I would be devoured by a bear) and gas prices had skyrocketed.
But by the time summer 2007 rolled around, we had found ways to make the trip a reality. All that money I had hidden away after high school graduation had been pulled out of savings, extra hours had been worked, and expenses like haircuts had been eliminated in my effort to leave San Marcos in the dust for most of the summer. We left town with one of those cheesy visor clips my grandmother had insisted giving us that says ?never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly.?
That trip completely changed my life. I had seen beautiful places before, sure, but I had never experienced them in such an intimate way. I had never felt the mist of Vernal Falls on my face, or peered up at the rim of the Grand Canyon, or looked out over the desert from the Chisos Mountains; I had never waded through the Virgin River Narrows, or stood in the shadow of a Giant Sequoia, or been lulled to sleep ten miles from nowhere by the rush of the Hoh River. I realized that we are not meant to live the conventional lives we do, and immediately experienced withdrawals after my return to everyday life; I had seen too much of how the world used to be, how it should be. We were drawn back to the West?s wild places the next summer? and winter break?and spring break. For me it was and is a desperate need to maintain my connection to the things that matter.
People are supposed to feel and be a part of nature, not work against it. Once I surrendered to this feeling, the hardness and dirtiness of cities became more apparent and distasteful. Experiencing raw nature makes us better people, and I am thankful to the National Park Service for making this possible for myself and so many others?oh, and this Buffalo too. :o)