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Brayden Hauser

Newark Charter, 9th grade


Nature is such a beautiful being. Nothing can compare to the towering pine trees that seem to scrape the sky, the calling of the birds as they wake early in the morning, or the way that in the end it all cycles through. The balance of the food chain and the biosphere itself. Nothing is ever truly gone or forgotten, just traveling in an infinite current that displays no signs of stopping or slowing down. I can look back on my childhood and so vividly visualize the beauty I had grown so used to walking by, I’d almost forgotten it was there. 

I can remember a time I went swimming in the creek a few years ago. During the COVID pandemic, my family realized that instead of staying at home and wasting our time together withering away through our screens, we should go explore the beautiful world around us. We went on the most breathtaking hikes that I didn’t even realize were right around the corner, hidden in plain sight, just waiting to be viewed and explored. It was so beautiful seeing the way that nature had healed itself after a pause on mankind’s industrialization. But there was one specific spot we’d claimed as our own. No one else knew about it except for us. We called it our Secret Cove. Secret Cove consisted of river rapids about two feet deep that traveled about half a mile down the creek until there was a barrier along the river, claiming away government land. There was a log that stretched across the creek, although callused with age and a longevity, was sturdy and delicate, and allowed us to plunge off it into a spot about five feet deep into frigid cold water. Underneath the water was an entire different world. There were schools of freshwater fish, freshwater eels, I even saw a few snakes. That should have scared me, and if you had told me I would be swimming with snakes and eels before that, I probably would have laughed in your face. But it was a strange sense throughout the breeze, bringing in a sense of connection and peace and blowing away the calamity and hostility. Jumping off that log into the Secret Cove of the intertwined epitome of an ecosystem, it truly opened up my eyes. 

Nature has always been a huge part of my life; from simply taking a breath of fresh air to going on hikes in Delaware’s many natural preserves. As someone who grew up next to White Clay Creek, it was hard not to constantly be in awe of the beautiful nature that surrounded me. Many people take for granted the beauty that our land possesses. People tend to look over this part of Delaware, and simply rush right past it, most not even acknowledging what the earth around them holds. Life today involves so much of being sucked into the digital world, and oftentimes we forget about nature. When did we trade in mother nature for our motherboards? When did we forget to stop and smell the roses, and instead see them and stomp them in our busy life we live. We simply view it as something to experience, not as something that is essential to our very life, and so intertwined with our existence our entire infrastructure would crumble away to a nothingness without it. 

I have noticed over the years the difference from the people that view nature as an experience, to those who see it for what it truly is – the beautiful world around us, those who have realized the hidden diamond beneath our feet and the air we breathe. Studies actually show that being in nature aids in releasing stress and anxiety. My sister has been homeschooled for much of her life due to her special needs, and quite frankly her pressing upkeep. I’ve watched her grow and thrive throughout the years, but the time I truly watched her nirvana blooming were those years hiking and swimming through the Secret Cove. I’d always known her and loved her like any brother should, but I never really understood her. It was like looking at a puzzle, having all the pieces, but never being able to solve it. You know what it’s supposed to look like, and yet you’re stuck not knowing where to begin. Yet little by little, through viewing the world through her eyes, it opened mine up as well. She showed me a new perspective, and I was able to slowly put the puzzle together piece by piece. I was able to see the bigger picture the puzzle had been hiding the whole while. Her complex mind understood nature itself, the complex transfer of energy, and she wanted to be a part of it. 

Delaware has done so much to preserve the nature around us in all its splendor. Festivals are thrown inviting people to come visit the preserves, and summer concerts with food trucks and fun attract every age group. They host events like cross country meets that invite several groups of people from all over the state and surrounding states to come view our parks as well. Delaware is so beautiful, and I am so glad for all the work they have done to preserve it. Even Thomas Jefferson agrees, after calling us a ‘jewel’ for our beauty and beaches, while naming us ‘The Diamond State’. People come from all around to bask in our beautiful beaches, and hike on our beautiful trails. I believe we can do even more. 

The Secret Cove continued to be our spot for years to come. We showed other people it as well, allowing for all of us to bask in the beauty of the Secret Cove. When I think of summer, I think of warm days baking away in the sun, jumping off that log into the crystal clear waters, studying the beautiful ecosystem that surrounded me. But I supposed good things don’t last forever, and before we knew it everything came crashing down. There was a hurricane off the coast that came and completely destroyed the ecosystem. Logs were down, rocks were thrown, beaches were eroded, and on top of that, swarms of spotted-lantern flies began to slowly pick off the trees and the logs that we’d once basked away our days enjoying. We were devastated. came around, and we let the sun set on the Secret Cove. 

A year later in early spring, we decided to go back. The wave of awe I was hit with when I followed along the nostalgic trails. The way that nature had healed itself over, it was as if nothing had happened. The logs were still there, but they were sturdier. The rocks had adapted and created new rapids. The beaches had come back, made up of new rocks and sediment. The birds were back to their morning chorale, and the deer were back to their placid drinking and scampering. The fish were back to their morning swims and the butterflies were back to their pollinating. It was a beautiful sight to see an ecosystem reborn. To see the damage that had been done regrow and intertwine in its new form, hatched from a chrysalis. 

There are many invasive and endangered species that live in Delaware, from Snakeheads, to Stiltgrass, to Lantern Flies. Although the Delaware organizations are doing so much with their projects and programs, I think they should take the extra initiative and invite the public to do so much more. I believe future generations need to recognize the beauty of our state’s nature and the threat that not only we possess to it, but the invasive species living inside of it. 

There are also many endangered species that live in Delaware from Turtles to Bats to Beetles. I love how much that is being done for these species, and as I mentioned before; I think the younger generations need to realize this as well, and help them through changing small things like the type of sunscreen they use or picking up trash. It’s simple yet so effective, and together we can save Delaware from its decaying state and apocalyptic fate. 

My unique experience has truly connected me to nature, and I have never felt so proud to be a part of something so much larger than me. The ecosystem is such a huge and beautiful system, and we only get to experience such a small fraction of it. We are intertwined, humans and environment, and until we all wake up and realize that, nature will continue to wither away. You never know what you have until it’s gone, from intertwined to disconnected. 

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