Spending Time in Nature Didn’t Always Come Naturally

You look at me now and you’d probably be shocked to hear that I didn’t like sitting on the ground when I was in high school. My friends would be eating lunch outside at times, and I had this aversion to sitting in the dirt. Later, in college, Brandeis University had this gorgeous outdoor area with a pond in one of their Freshman quads. And guess who studied there? Everyone but me!

No, I was cooped up in my dorm room memorizing organic chemistry flash cards, or in the cafeteria reading up on my textbook assignments.

So what happened?

Into my early twenties, I was very into physical activity as my main go-to hobby and form of stress relief. I would happily jog on a treadmill or dance. I didn’t yearn for the outdoors one bit. Near the end of college, I pulled a calf muscle. So jogging was replaced by nature walks. A few years later, I incurred a back injury that hindered my ability to dance. Thus, more nature walks.

When I would go for walks in Central Park or Fort Tryon park—which I had even more of a liking for, since it was less domesticated—I felt the energy of my natural surroundings. In pursuit of healing, I had to limit my movement, which translated into dampening my self-expression, and thus, my aliveness. So I was comforted by the liveliness of my natural surroundings. There was this vibrance in the trees, in the flowers. As well as an overall sense of solace and calm.

And so began my connectedness with my natural surroundings. And it has only deepened since.

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