This I Believe

Tara - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on February 25, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: nature

The Peace in Nature

Our lives can become very complicated. Between schoolwork, social drama, and family issues, daily life can be very overwhelming. Everyone needs an escape – some place of refuge, where none of life’s problems can bother you. My escape is the outdoors.

There is one distinct memory that shows this more clearly than any other. It was some time during elementary school, during spring. We were at recess, and I did not really feel like gossiping, which was the main activity at recess among the girls of my school. So, I went off by myself across the playground, as I did very often. I climbed the small hill to the pear tree, which was in full blossom. I thought the little white flowers were beautiful, fluttering like little snowflakes down onto the grass. I scooped one up to admire its delicate beauty. Just then, a troop of some of the gossips from my class trotted up to me from behind.

“The principle told us that we can’t pick the flowers off the tree,” one of them informed me snottily.

“I didn’t pick it,” I said honestly, “I found it on the ground.”

They didn’t seem to hear me. “It’s all right, we’ll forgive you. But you have to go turn yourself in.”

“But I didn’t pick it! I swear!” I protested.

“Ew! She swore!” they all cried out and dashed down the hill, bursting into giggles as thought of their newest gossiping topic.

I was confused and angry. What right did they have to accuse me of something I did not do? I knew swearing meant saying specific words, not just “I swear.” And how they jumped from one accusation to another – it was like they were trying to make me feel bad, not really caring if I broke the rules or not. I already felt excluded from them, and this significantly widened the gap. To this day, the sight of people running away from me, giggling, sends shudders down my spine. I wanted to yell something in fury after them, but I did not know what to yell.

Instead, I turned back to the tree and finished climbing the slope. There was something comforting about how the sunlight streamed through its new pale green leaves, and how the wind tossed its branches, sending down a snowstorm of tiny white petals. There was something nourishing about the vivid blueness of the sky, and the springy freshness of the breeze. I could let my fury go, and feel safe in the beauty of nature. And, somehow, I didn’t feel so alone anymore.

I believe that peace and refuge can be found in nature. To this day, if I feel overwhelmed, angry, sad, or confused, I go outside for a walk. If I pay attention to the tiny details of nature, the ones that so often go ignored, I always feel better. I feel safe, and not at all alone.