I held onto a root that jutted and dangled from the side of a creek bank as I lowered my toes into an icy cold trail of water. It was a summer night in Northern California and the air was cold. I was with seven friends and as we walked to the deepest part of the creek I balanced on the sharp and slippery stones and rocks below my feet. The moon and stars were bright. The foliage and trees above the creek bank were thick. That’s when it happened. We counted, one, two, three. Plunge. Resurfacing I caught my breath and looked at my drenched friends. Again. One, two three. Plunge. The water pricked me like pins and needles. One, two, three, plunge. My friends and I, in a circle, looked at each other, held hands, and smiled. One, two, three. Plunge. And everything disappeared but the hand I was holding, and the freezing water. One, two, three. Plunge.
There is no greater feeling than when I live my life completely immersed in the world around me. It is when I am interacting with people, and nature, not facing a screen but facing the person that I am with that I find the deepest rewards. My generation is very global, we can communicate anywhere, see the whole world over a computer, and learn an incredible quantity of knowledge without having to pick up a book. I also believe that this is the same reason that my generation has very small lives. We can see the world, explore and discover, and we can do it in the comfort of our own home. Unfortunately this robs us of a lot of real experiences. We can make friends without ever meeting them, write letters without walking to a post office, and visit countries without ever getting on an airplane. This is not the way that I want to live life.
Whether it’s climbing a tree, taking a hike, swimming, sharing a meal, or playing a game of cards, I learn most by being present and living in the physical world around me. It was a couple of years ago when my friends and I were so turned on to life that we waded into a creek and plunged time and time again. We had a moment of unity, with the Earth and with each other. I believe that it is time for me, and my generation, to explore the world and to turn off some of our technology so that we can turn on to the planet. I believe that we can make change. I believe that we can bring help bring peace to this planet. I believe that we can learn to love the natural world again. This I believe. We just have to take the plunge.