You can’t convince yourself your dreams are meaningless and have meaning in your waking experience.
There is something about nature that awakens the senses. Almost every memory I have, from the time I was a very small child to now, centers around something natural. Something outside or just something to hold on to that was part of the Earth. Something not man-made or plastic or artificial, but genuine and real.
As a small child, one of my first memories is of looking out of the window of my home into an autumn day. The sun was warm, the trees were hues of gold and red, and everything was perfect. I remember the piles of leaves, like a carpet across the lawn, and the dark wood of the oak trees. I vaguely recall that Sesame Street was on behind me, and the blue vinyl of my playpen crackled within my tight grip, but that was not what fascinated me. No, nature was far more exciting and attractive than anything else.
Most of my elementary school years’ memories focus on the playground. My connection with nature in a suburban hive of cement and windowless rooms, the playground was in itself a forest to be lost in. I remember the rough wood of the teeter-totter, the clatter and crunch of pebbles beneath my feet, the lone tree, tucked away behind the toy shed, which I managed to pull myself onto despite the lack of low-hanging branches.
As I grew older, I moved up to the ‘big kids’ playground. This one was full of trees, and went back far further then the teachers could actually supervise. I remember spending lots of time perched in a tall tree, wedged between v shaped branches and perfectly content to listen to the sound of children screaming and laughing below me. Why waste time on metal monkey bars or aluminum jungle gyms? The trees were there, perfectly formed and organically difficult to climb; always a challenge and always accepted.
Trees. A tree is something that feels more real to me than anything else. Stones as well, smooth and endlessly varied and always solid; always unbreakable. But trees have been my safe haven for my entire life. Even in my college years, when I wanted to find a place that was peaceful and quiet to center myself, I would climb a tree. There, sitting on the branches and lost among the leaves, I could feel truly alone and safe, and yet still connected to something beautiful and natural. It was not lonely in a tree, not the way it would have been in an empty room or even a crowded bar, because the tree itself was alive – a quiet companion.
Now, as I get older, I still feel a connection to nature and the trees. Do not get me wrong, I love the ocean, with its endless waves and wind, its salty tang and rush of energy. I also love the desert, with its scarce beauty and subtle range of colors. But the forest, the trees, will always be nature to me.
A pine forest, thick with needles and smelling forever like Christmas. The carpet of spiky yet soft beneath your feet, the bare, black trunks reaching towards the sky until finally branching out with thin arms; impossibly high.The night wind blowing through as they sway all together, as one creature, howling in the night with a forlorn and yet hopeful song.
The shade of the great oaks and elms, their thick trucks scarred by limbs lost. Branches snaking out along the ground or overhead, so long they seem to wind together into one great tree. Tunnels and canopies formed by centuries of growth, dripping the soft grey-green Spanish moss. And, in the autumn, the glorious cacophony of gold and green and red.
Even the marshy wetlands of the cypress trees, their knees popping up like signals to watch your step lest you be pulled down into the sucking grey mud. The gentle, sad waving of the willow’s trailing branches, forming their own little world beneath the leaves.
There is so much beauty in nature. Is it not strange that most people would decide to form their memories around man made things instead? How many memories do you have that were based on things people created rather than natural things? For me, my good memories start and end with nature. Give me trees any day.
This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of nanny payroll. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: – jdebra84 @ gmail.com.(Bold, italicized text is input from One World class participants. Thank you!)