This I Believe

Jennifer - San Diego, California
Entered on May 30, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

As a child, I grew up loving nature. I was lucky because my parents had a passion for the natural world. They immersed me in it and instilled their love of nature in me.

I remember canoeing down a meandering Ozark river, and climbing trails of the San Bernardino Mountains surrounded by sage and manzanita. I realized during those moments that nature held a power for me. That power to me was that nature would always become a place that was beyond the problems of society and would become a release for me. Therefore, I believe nature has power to refresh and enrich my soul.

Every step into nature brings new experiences. Whether you are climbing the Sierra Nevada’s or simply smelling fresh cut grass, you encounter something different each time.

John Muir said it best: “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” Muir was right on point when he said that, and I got to experience firsthand what that meant, when I discovered the beauty of Yosemite.

I will never forget an experience hiking through Yosemite. The valley floor was covered with new spring grass and towering trees. The sides of the valley were guarded by escarpments of granite. Walking through Yosemite brings me to a state of admiration of how nature has endured over the decades.

I reached a trail that would take me to the top of the tallest waterfall in the United States, Yosemite Falls. I knew that I wanted to do it, and I knew I was capable. The trail was 7.2 miles round trip.

Looking out from the trail I could see Yosemite Valley, Half Dome and across the peaks and ridges into the far backcountry. I had seen pictures of these places hundreds of times, but that did not detract me from the sense of well being I felt.

Exhausted I finally reached the top of the falls. Reaching the top was exhilarating, and I was reminded again that nature would always be a constant in my life. I knew that the mountains and streams would be there for me, a place to get perspective on what is important.

Even amidst the craziness of society with the war in the Middle East and the tragedy at Virginia Tech, nature will always prevail to teach us lessons on life. Life is too beautiful to waste and we all become better by reaching out to discover the beauty which nature holds.

As I left Yosemite, feeling a very good kind of tired, I realized that I learned so much about myself by just crossing the land, and what I had explored is to what some people call, the geography of the soul.

Nature has the power to bring us to a place where we can understand our inner self and the universe around us by simply showing us the beauty of nature’s wonders.

And this I believe.