I would say that where I grew up, in a relatively wooded area of southern Connecticut, truly defined my relationship with nature. I would always go hiking with my dad on the weekends or headed to the nearby Long Island Sound to search for crabs. At my house I had a big grassy yard to play in with tons a trees that seemed massive at the time. Woods separate my house from my neighbor’s house, which is common throughout my town. As a child the woods always intrigued me. How do animals survive there? Would I survive there? Are there monsters? These questions haunted my six-year-old brain whenever I stared out from my large living room windows.
Different types of animals would always be making their way through my yard to some unknown destination. Deer, squirrels, chipmunks, wild turkeys, groundhogs and sometimes some unknown neighbor’s cat were frequent visitors. At night, raccoons, skunks, possums, foxes and coyotes would come around.
One memory I have concerning a tree was when I was about five years old and there was this large dead tree in my front yard. It was summer at the time and all of the other trees in my yard were covered in dense, beautiful green leaves, while this tree was completely bare. My parents told me that workers were coming to cut down the tree. I remember feeling bad for the tree, it looked so sad compared to the others. I watched the workers cut of section after section until all that was left was a stump.
I feel like growing up in an environment where nature is appreciated is crucial in forming a relationship with nature in general. I have never lived in an urban setting before, but I always wonder what it is like for children who grew up without their own yard to play in and without forest to marvel at. Yes, parks in urban areas have greatly improved over the years, however, I am not sure if it gives the same effect. I woke up and went to sleep with a view of trees out of my bedroom window and looking back at it now I am greatly appreciative.
I do worry that I do not stop to appreciate the world around me as much as I did when I was a child. Instead of thinking about the mysterious woods surrounding my house, I am now worried about making a living after college. Everyone and everything moves so quickly now that sometimes I forget to sit and breath. I have realized that I feel my best and healthiest when I have been outside for a long period of time. Coming home after a day at the beach or a hike in the woods is one of the most fantastic feelings.