A Walk to Remember: Connecting with Nature During a Pandemic

Gillian Tarry, Viewpoints Editor

Most people don’t understand the concept of why we need nature. Personally, being around nature makes me feel more in tune with myself. Usually, I will try to go outside and drink my coffee on my front porch. It gives me a sense of purity and innocence, which is often lost in most teens becoming adults. That feeling I get is called reconnection. Many people can reconnect with people, animals but not often nature. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “I take bike rides.” However, that is not always the case. Maybe one day, take a chair and sit outside with a drink and just take in the sounds of the outdoors. Maybe you don’t feel differently, but maybe it will change your life and will become a natural part of your week or even day. 

Connecting with nature is not all what they say it is. When connecting with nature, you think more clearly and confidently. You can easily get to know yourself better when you are not glued to your phone screen. Some ways of connecting with nature are to go outdoors, leave your technology behind and relax, and listen to the sounds instead of the common pop music. Another way is to give back to nature just like how nature gives back to us. During the summer of 2019, I was given the opportunity to give back to nature by helping to plant 150 trees and releasing 400 largemouth bass into the Massapequa Preserve. These projects happen all the time all over the world. After all the hard work had been completed, I felt good about the help I did for the earth and nature. It gives a sense of worth to the environment and toward ourselves. 

I am not the only one, however, in our district that connects with nature in his or her own way. Mr Rafferty, an English teacher from Wantagh High School, lives his second life as an ocean lifeguard and has done so for three decades. He says, “There is something special about watching the ocean for days and months and becoming in tune with its ebb and flow, through moon cycles and tidal changes, rip tides and dormant days.” He explains how he connects with nature while also giving back his time toward our earth. Connection with our earth and nature is very important for the soul and heart. It helps us gain closure from hardships we can not figure out by messaging friends over social media. 

Ms. Jones, a social studies teacher in our high school and fellow nature lover, says, “I truly believe that nature helps us to connect to our best selves and allows us to see that we are all connected to this planet and its health.” Quite often, Ms. Jones finds herself relaxing at the sunny beach or exploring in the mountains in Colorado. This is not only a fun activity but a way to benefit yourself mentally. It helps bring out the best version of yourself. As a result of being your best self , you work and act better. 

While explaining what nature does for him and his daily life, Mr. Rafferty says, “Connecting with nature is chicken soup for the soul. If I’m having a bad day, an experience in nature is not just an escape, but also a therapeutic means to help me move forward.” Nature not only helps the mental body but the emotional body. It is an escape for the emotional part of the brain for when you need a break from all the stress. It can really help you at your lowest points when you are not feeling like yourself. I truly believe everyone can connect with nature even if they don’t know it yet.