For many years, I considered myself a city girl: someone more comfortable in air conditioning than fresh air.
I liked to spend time in my mind. Nature wasn’t a prerequisite.
Then I met Guy.
Guy loved nature photography and was quite good at it.
So, I would accompany him on hikes, notice him as he noticed a bird, and, in the process, notice the bird myself.
Dating Guy brought me outside of myself. It slowed me down. It showed me the pleasure of stillness.
My relationship with Guy didn’t last, but my relationship with Nature did.
These days, I crave Her.
Although I live in the heart of a city, I am fortunate to live near a park and a lake.
I am blessed to hear the birds sing – louder now that the planes from the nearby airport have stopped.
I am blessed to watch the swans, accustomed to humans, hang out along the shoreline looking for food, and the long-tailed ducks further out, who couldn’t give a fuck about us, dive-bomb for their meals.
I am blessed to be able to hug 100-year-old trees and feel the life force running through their veins.
Watching fresh buds emerge on the trees and the flowers bloom has been one of my greatest joys over the past two months.
Ten years ago, this kind of language would make me vomit.
I didn’t get the connection with spring because I wasn’t connected with something larger than myself.
Now, I need Nature like never before.
I need Her to keep me grounded, to slow me down, to bring me back to the present, and to remind me of the joy that I am.
This relationship is one-sided. I know this.
Nature doesn’t need me. She doesn’t need you. She doesn’t need any of us.
And some speculate she would be better off without any of us.
But still, she provides – air, water and food, and such vast, never-ending beauty.
We all have a relationship with Nature.
When you take a relationship for granted, inevitably, one party walks.
We all know we are at a critical point for human existence on this planet.
Let’s make this a tipping point that slows us down, brings us into the present, and causes us to invest in, rather than ignore, one of the most important relationships we’ll ever have.
Take a moment this Earth Day to appreciate all that Nature does for you.
And if you can spare it, donate to an organization working towards Her conservation.
Because She may not need us. But we sure AF need Her.