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Sarah McMann

Posted on June 15, 2022 at 12:42 am

Sarah McMann

The Natural World

By: Sarah McMann

      There was no one moment in which I really connected to the natural world. I’ve been on a journey my whole life, discovering more and more through the years. Every time I stop to ‘smell the roses’ and really appreciate the world around me, I experience nature in a way that makes all my other thoughts fly out the window. In those moments, the natural world is the most beautiful thing I could ever imagine, and I’m reminded that I belong to that beautiful world, as all people do. We all seem to forget that nature isn’t just something to look at through a window. It’s an experience, and a huge part of all of us. Throughout my life, I’ve been lucky enough to experience so many different places, and see so many different things that make the natural world so magnificent. I’ve learned to see a ‘web of life’ wherever I go, and nothing else can ever  compare. The web of life makes up the natural world, and connects every living thing on Earth to one another. I can experience this web of life in my own backyard, and as I listen to everything that’s around me, I know that it’s all connected, and that I’m connected to everything as well. 

     As long as I can remember, my family and I have traveled to so many different places. I’ve hiked mountains in California, Wyoming, Maine, Hawaii, and so many more places that I can’t even remember. I’ve seen up close the Bison and Black Bears of Yellowstone National Park, and seen the sunrise over the Wyoming mountain plains as Pronghorn grazed below me. I’ve walked through the rivers of Yosemite and seen the gorgeous and ancient trees of Sequoya. I’ve been to Jackson Hole Wyoming where I hiked through Grand Teton and seen moose from 15 feet away. I even ate waffles on the mountain top at 10,450 feet in elevation. I’ve swam in the icy cold Atlantic sea on the Maine coast, and climbed mountains in Acadia, Maine, from base to peak. I’ve been to the Poconos, where the deer almost act like pets. With deer friendly food, I fed a mother doe from my palm. I’ve swam in waterfalls and been down the natural water slides of Fayette County, Pennsylvania. I’ve been to the tropical islands of Maui and Oahu, traveled the Road to Hana, waded through rainforest waterfalls, swam in the angry waves that crashed on the Black Sand Beach. I’ve kayaked in the crystal blue Pacific ocean, and seen green sea turtles from 3 feet away, even having to jolt away to avoid making contact with a few when they caught me off guard and swam up below me. I’ve snorkeled in waters where you can almost see the bottom, and when the water becomes so deep that the sand disappears, I’ve felt that isolation and silence that I believe whales and other creatures feel when they’re deep below the ocean’s surface. I feel so lucky to have been so many places and seen so many wonderful things. There are so many different aspects of the natural world that I’ve been privileged enough to experience. In a few days, I get to travel to Utah and Nevada, where I’ll repel down canyons, hike in the Narrows, and see so many amazing places. No where I’ve been has felt more eye opening and more beautiful than the rest. Hawaii was more incredible than anything I could have ever imagined, and I felt connected with all of the nature that surrounded me there, but I would say the same for anywhere else I’ve traveled in the 15 years I’ve been alive, even my roadside view of the sunrise as I drove through New York State and into Canada. Even the trees in my own backyard. Nature is an entire web of wonders, and we’re all a part of it, so long as we remember it. As long as I continue to see that I belong in the natural world that I travel through, I can experience life-defining moments anywhere I go. The natural world is the most magnificent thing that mankind never created, and like us, it can never be owned by anyone. 

      Nature isn’t just something beautiful to look at, it is an experience that takes place all around us. Every living thing on this beautiful green Earth is connected to everything else in Creation, which is the most amazing thing to see when you step into the natural world. In my own backyard, I can hear the birds as they sing together, so many species with their own unique call. I can hear the leaves rustle as squirrels scamper along the trees, and I can see the way the branches bend when they climb nimbly from thick branches to thin ones. I can hear the soft flow of the creak that runs along my house, and I can occasionally hear the splashes when frogs are startled into jumping in. I can hear animals when they make their way through the dense bushes and foliage behind my fence, and even though I can never seem to find the animals at the source of all the noise, I can still trust my hearing and know that they are there. I’m so happy that nature’s favorite color is green, because I can feel so greatly overwhelmed by the color and beauty of the trees. When it rains in the spring and summer, green somehow becomes greener, and I can more solidly hear the beauty that surrounds me. I can see the birds of all colors, shapes, and sizes hopping along in the grass as they look for food. I can see squirrels perched on my fenceposts as they hold nuts in their little paws. The most common word for the way animals impact each other is called a food chain. However, in my opinion, those on the bottom of said food chain are no less than those on top. Instead, I like to think of the natural world as a web. Spider webs have no definite top and bottom, they have millions of different strings that connect to one another. The ‘web of life’ is not a competition, it’s a beautiful network of lives impacted one another. I know that many people haven’t been lucky enough to have traveled where I’ve been, but the only thing required to have a life-defining moment is that you see yourself as part of the web of life, and decide to cherish the nature around you. Feeling connected to nature is a true gift, and it’s given to all of us if we choose to accept it.

 

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