As a record of my beliefs, I believe in allowing time to reflect upon nature.
I grew up in the country, in rural Peabody, Kansas, on thirteen acres of wooded land that I used to retreat to. To find solace from a hectic life, I can look back on it all, visible like a reflection mirrored in a forest stream.
I am a high school student, a junior in the International Baccalaureate program. As school progresses, it has become an increasing time demand on my life. I usually spend somewhere between three and six hours on homework per night and I find myself running the risk of being driven insane. It helps me to remember who I am and where I belong in this world. I remember all of the woods—the serene calm and the memories most of all.
The woods were always so still, so restful: they were a place where I could sit on the bank of the stream for hours contemplating life, reflecting back, watching reflections in the water. I remember a young girl, running hither and thither about the forest barefoot and delighting in being alive, wading in the shallow stream, leaping from one bank to the other without falling. Looking into the stream, I could reflect back. Another girl, maybe eight or nine, playing under the leafless trees in February, or in April, picking the violets that grew along the banks of the stream. An older girl, maybe thirteen, sitting underneath the cedar trees in winter with her knees drawn up to her chest, staring into the shallow, clear stream and watching as the sunlight shafting through the trees glinted off the minnows darting in the water there. I used to meditate upon contemplations and allow myself time to collect my thoughts. I remember how the wind would rise, rustling the trees overhead—I remember how the wind would die, leaving in its wake leaves to fall gently to the water below, rippling across the mirror. The woods will always call me back, always, that I may lose myself once more within them and gain understanding of my own thoughts. I believe in that reflection and the nature that makes it possible.
My time spent in the woods and by that stream has helped define me as a more thoughtful person, as someone who knows when to take time to stop working and how to refocus in times of stress. In my life of homework until the early hours of the morning, I have found that in order to retain my sanity, I must allow myself time to mentally recuperate. I am therefore an advocate of the natural world and of time spent savoring every moment of existing in it. I believe in allowing time to appreciate the therapeutic effects of nature.
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