Emerging Perspectives: Student Chapters
Nature has so many captivating qualities. Whether it be the rustle of summer green leaves, the indescribable blue of the sky on a clear day, or the countless creatures that scurry across the earth’s floor, I always find myself amazed by its peculiar yet familiar structure. Nature is something that is often taken for granted. Yes, individuals are constantly reminded of its presence, but do we often think of its value? For me, the wilderness has been a place of refuge and comfort. Somewhere that I look to when I am feeling lost and confused.
Recently, I had the pleasure of embarking on an eight-day canoeing trip in The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota with a group of my peers. Being surrounded by such beautiful and seemingly untouched land (as seen in Figure 1) was an unfamiliar yet incredible experience. While I have always immersed myself in nature for times of reflection, I had never experienced it on this extreme level. In the absence of technology and development, my mind had never felt so open and curious. Realizing how small of a speck I am in this vast, beautiful, and awe-inspiring world helped me gain perspective on my actions and eased many of my worries. During this time, I unconsciously found myself becoming more contemplative about my past, present, and future. I was able to wrestle with the feelings I had pushed to the back of my mind, such as a recent family illness, and I was able to clearly define what I wanted to do with my life: attend college and eventually work in an environmental field. During this trip I was challenged (both mentally and physically) in ways that I didn’t know were possible. After completing this experience, I was amazed at my newfound confidence and appreciation for the strength of both my body and mind. Boundary Waters was the place where I was truly enlightened about nature’s healing and meditative characteristics and after returning from this trip, I was curious if others felt the same way…
Find the rest of this chapter in Emerging Perspectives on Religion and Environmental Values in America HERE.