My whole life, I have always felt more comfortable being out, surrounded by nature, than being downtown in a city. For me, going into nature is like getting away from the world of worries and responsibilities. It’s a release—where nothing else matters outside of the trail I’m hiking or the bird I’m watching. There is a special kind of calmness that you only feel while in nature, almost like a personal connection between you and the Earth. And this connection with nature is reassuring.
I believe where you feel the most comfortable, you also feel the most content, and naturally you begin to give more value to what makes you feel that way. I’ve always been rather introverted and quiet, never really a people person, so it’s not a huge surprise that I get uncomfortable around large groups or in the bustling action of cities. Growing up, nature was indeed my break from the city life and noisy crowds, and the many different aspects of nature I have experienced have instilled in me a deep value for nature.
Whether they were trips to Colombia and seeing wonders like Tequendama Falls, or a trip to Italy and paragliding above mountains and forests in the Alps. Even here in the U.S, hiking in the woods and forests to find the best vantage point for watching that elusive songbird. As Jed Purdy says, “Nature does not love us or want us to be happy… There is no harmony waiting for us in that globe, at least none on a scale that fits our lives, our pleasures and pains and passions” (Purdy 2015, p.10). This may sound depressing, or even scary at first, but really, it’s quite beautiful. Without us, cities might die, but nature might live on. It inspires a sense of wonder that there can be a force in our world larger than all of us, and I think that is comforting.
Purdy, J. 2015. After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, USA.