Closer to Nature

Closer to Nature

The most memorable parts of the LakeTrails experience are the splintered pictures and fractions of emotions. The ecstatic thrill of a canoe cresting a wave, the exhilaration of riding the stormy waters that could drown a human in an instant, the peace of sitting upon a moonlit rock, the quiet of a glass-still lake, the triumph of a perfectly-erected tent, the safety of lying beneath a green tarp and listening to the rain, the awe of watching a perfect sunset. All these so fleeting, and so permanent, and so impossible to imagine before experiencing.

In the wilderness, I found peace in the quiet things, beauty in birdsong and permanence in horizons full of trees. I surprised myself with my ability to survive without constant entertainment, and I found I preferred being alone in the wilderness to being surrounded by people. I did not know that I could deal with being constantly bug-bitten until I did and learned to ignore the discomfort. I learned a bit of my own strength, and the strength of others, and I found myself gaining respect for nature. I think now, after this trip, I will spend more time outside, away from my phone and television and people. It will be easier for me to ignore bugs. In fact, I’ve gotten over a large part of my fear of spiders.

At first, I thought that I would hate being away from ‘civilization’ for so long. I believed that I would be miserable in such buggy conditions. I imagined that coming home would be a relief. Instead, I came to enjoy caring about nothing but my immediate needs. I got used to the bugs and even moved spiders with my bare hands. And when I came home, part of me still missed a world where trees replaced buildings, and water replaced streets.

In the future, I intend to do much more to care for the environment. I have given up beef in my diet already (something that the documentary Before the Flood played a small part in), but that’s not all I can do. I intend to do something meaningful with my future. With a chemical engineering or Bio products and Biosystems degree, I can help revolutionize the field of clean energy. Perhaps someday I could be part of a team that does something like reverse-engineer photosynthesis. In any case, I do not intend to stand idly by while my world is destroyed.

This eco-writing experience has brought me closer to nature. I have grown more comfortable in the outdoors, and more determined to protect them in any way I can.

The Eco-Writing course is a one credit course, offered as summer option, open to sophomores, juniors and seniors for an additional fee. If you are interested in exploring the great outdoors and want to write about it, contact Katie Belanger or Kristin Gilbertson for more information.

“The class will expose students to legendary nature writers such as John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Sigurd Olson and Mary Oliver. Students will develop their own ‘listening point’ and create field journals; they will also learn to write reflectively and persuasively about the world around them.