My name is Ian. I am finishing my senior year at college, where I was in the American Southwest but now I am back home. I am an outdoor educator currently in central New York.
Photo Credit: Jon Tyson on Unsplash
With this virus going on things are different. I was supposed to be spending 80 days in the American Southwest but instead here I sit in central New York. I think we all are in a different place than we expected two months ago but it is through this change of pace that I have found a closer connection to the landscape around me.
The nature I have around me is a tiny park. So tiny that no matter where you stand in the woods, you can see a building. Even though it is so small, I have been able to see spring come in. From skunk cabbage to marsh marigold to tree’s leaves, the natural world is still moving forward. These small observations over the span of weeks are helping me realise that slowing down can be hard, it can help us to see things we are too busy to see.
With not knowing how this summer will unfold I realize more that I must return to nature. I must slow down and look through inquisitive eyes. With more down time it is time to return to nature and return to the child-like state of exploration. As an educator it also allows me to design more curriculum with that self learning focus. Being able to sit down in the small plot of woods reminds me of why I do what I do, for building connection with the natural spaces.
What brings me hope in this time is the uncertainty. To many this is not what they want but it is helping me to stay on my toes and remember to live in the place I am while I am there. I find my friends too often looking months in advance and thinking about the now. How do I make ends meet? How do I find happiness? For me finding work in nature, such as agriculture, allows me to find a way to meet all of my needs. Once we get past this virus, I hope that we can all slow down and notice what is happening around us. I hope we all can find ways to reconnect with the land outside of our windows, be that a garden, forest, or potted plant. I think through watching the natural world more closely we can learn more about ourselves for health and happiness.