Posted on June 15, 2022 at 12:11 am
Feeling the ridges and bumps of the ups and downs of the road beneath me as we drive
through the terrain of Iceland, I turn from the left to the right and observe the area we are
cruising through. On the left, mountains tower over us with their various sizes and peaks
that display colors of gray, brown, green, and white snow caps. The tips of more mountains
peak out from the ones right in front of us and allow us to see that the mountain range
travels on for miles and miles. On the right, a vast body of water that glistens in a unique
shade of blue that can only be described as the cliche color of blue used to depict oceans in
cartoon movies, shows, and books. If I had not seen it with my own two eyes, I likely
would've come to the conclusion that this landscape was one out of a painting that was
simply a figment of the imagination.
Coming to a slow, screeching stop, the car parks on the edge of the road and we carefully
step out, only to be greeted by a large gust of wind and the faint sound of water gushing
echoing in the background. A quick glance at my phone tells me that it is almost midnight-a
time that signifies the famous midnight sun in Iceland. As it gets closer and closer to sunset
time, I become more and more speechless. The sky above is now painted with colors of
orange and red surrounding the glowing sun with hints of blue and purple creeping into
the night sky as it transitions into something that isn’t quite darkness, but a deep shade of
blue with orange highlights as the sun never truly sets during Iceland summers. In this
moment, there was peace. No sounds other than the ones of nature could be heard. In this
moment, there was connection.
Sitting cross-legged on the cold, hard gravel while watching this unfold was only one of
the many wonders I witnessed on this trip to Iceland. From the larger-than-life glaciers to
the hot springs, from the pounding waterfalls filled with the sweetest water to the vast
fields of lupine flowers, the nature I saw in Iceland was incomparable to anywhere else I'd
ever gone to in the fifteen years I have been able to experience this Earth.
Though this surreal trip renewed my appreciation for nature and our world, coming back
to Delaware also brought about the sense of longing to go back and experience such a thing
again because I believed that what I felt there, in Iceland, was something I would never
experience here in Delaware.
Then, on one of the rare cooler days of July, I went out to my backyard, book in hand, and
climbed into the vibrant blue hammock we had strung up between the trees in our
backyard. Swinging slowly back-and-forth, I put my book down and turned my head
upwards to observe the leaves and the trees and the branches and the clouds and the
birds, all the while, listening to the stream of water from the creek behind me. The same
feeling of peace, of connection, that I felt weeks prior in Iceland began to wash over me.
As I closed my eyes, I could feel the light breeze on my eyelashes, and I realized. Every part
of the environment, whether here or thousands of miles away, is connected in some way
through what can be called the web of life. Every part of this world is connected to another
part through the nature that exists in all places. Though the specific location may have
different plants or animals or habitats, the most common feature of every natural place is
the feeling that one experiences when you truly appreciate it for all its intricacies and
Prior to any of the experiences, I had been aware and sympathetic towards the climate
crisis that has been on the rise in the past decade, but the true magnitude of the issue
never really hit me until I discovered this newfound appreciation and connection with the
natural world during this experience. Before, I would recycle my plastic and use metal
straws, but it never felt like I was truly making an impact- I mean how could I, I was only
one person. However, this trip
Iceland enabled me to seek opportunities to work towards change in my own
community that was both perceptible and impactful.
The realization that was sparked by a trip to Iceland and then solidified in my very own
backyard, inspired and continues to inspire not only my personal relationship of
fascination and appreciation for nature, but also fuels the passion of my advocacy through
the actions these experiences have allowed me to take. From simply spreading awareness
on environmental threats and issues to later being able to work on tangible policies that
calls for environmental actions and protections in New Castle County through the Youth
Planning Board, the personal connection created through my traveling experiences has
acted as motivation for the crucial environmental justice advocacy that is needed to save
the deteriorating state of the planet.
And though the mountains, hills, waterfalls, glaciers, sunsets, winds, flowers, trees, and
roads of Iceland will never know, those days of summer spent abroad can only be
described as blissful. A connection made 2,854 miles away came back with me and allowed
me to impact my home and others around me, a connection that I will always be grateful
for, a connection that I have continued to look for with every environment and place of
nature I explore.
Connections between the diverse environments around the globe are easily identified,
but it is only when we work towards finding a connection between nature and ourselves,
can we truly and fully appreciate the connections of the web of life.