I remember the time on the Top of the World Highway in Alaska when I was on a ridge, and could see...forever. I turned off my vehicle, stepped out into the calm morning, and the silence was so deep, it pulsed.
I remember the night in the Ecuador rain forest watching an 80 year old entomologist stand with my fearless 8 year old child beside a floodlit white sheet, introducing her to the thousands of insects that zoomed in.
I remember this day, today, when sustained winds of 30-40 mph and gusts up to 60 mph carried with them a white-out blizzard, making my midwestern winter trees dance crazily, and my wind chimes sing.
I spend time outdoors every day. It’s a rule. Regardless of the weather, I go out. (Weather is only a problem if you don’t dress properly for it.) I’m not afraid of cold, or heat, or rain, or bugs, or wild animals, not even snakes. I seek uneven terrain whenever possible. The natural world sustains my soul. It saddens me that so many have forgotten how to go outside, that some don’t even have much of an “outside” to go to. I resent that some would say an open space is just vacant. Ask the creatures who call it home.
The natural world with its extreme weather events and unshackled rivers and oceans and sometimes unstable land does hard things, but it’s not doing these things for any other reason than that’s how, through millennia, nature works. We, the humans, are the interlopers.
My respect for the natural world is healthy, and it’s my honor to write on behalf of this voiceless phenomenon.