A Connection with Nature

Michael - Yorktown, Virginia
Entered on February 26, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: nature
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I believe that one thing everyone needs is some kind of a connection with nature. I have come to believe this through countless experiences with nature that truly changed my perspective on the world.

I first realized I had a deep love for nature when I went away to camp for the first time. This was not your average summer sleep away camp, but a very challenging natural experience camp. While at there we went on week-long hiking expeditions in the woods. When I was there I experienced something amazing. With only twelve other people and surrounded by the vast woods, I felt at home and at peace with the world. Being so close to nature brought me a feeling I had never felt before this. For the first time in my life I felt my roots in nature and a deep connection with it.

The camp is located in a remote area of Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains. Completed in 1937, the trail extends approximately 2100 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. It meanders its way through woodland and over countless mountains. It is an amazing experience to hike the Appalachian Trail, even in small trips. Some people undertake the task of hiking the whole trail in one season. This has been one of my goals now for quite some time, and I believe it would be a life changing experience. When I am in the woods, especially alone, I get to truly experience nature. If you are paying attention you can see animal trails, hear birds chirping, and the babbling of a creek off in the distance. When I experience being in nature, I feel recharged. Daily life slowly saps me. For most people any change can alleviate this. By living normally I get more and more separated from nature. Nature is my way of blowing off the accumulated stress of normal life.

The added reason to spend a lot of time in nature is it may not be there for too much longer. All along the Appalachian Trail, it is changing and dying. Countless species of plants and animals that were there when the trail was first built are not around anymore. Trees that once made up almost half of the tree cover no longer flourish. The beautiful bald tops are also vanishing. Also with the ever expanding highway system, roads are being built through many parts of the trail. The forests are dying, animal species are still going extinct and bald tops are disappearing.

Nature is a truly extraordinary thing. It has so much to offer, and being close to nature has had a great impact on my life. From memorable experiences, to stress relief, a close connection with nature defines my very soul. This I believe.