My apologies for the hiatus, but as fourth quarter starts off I am back to blogging. As of late, we have been focusing on an ecocritical approach to literature (specifically children's stories) as well as other documents works that connect language and the environment.
One particularly striking activity we did was journal about our relationship with the environment by responding to several questions.
- Do you consider yourself an "outdoorsy" person? Why or why not?
- Which of your most salient memories involve nature, the outdoors, animals, plants, etc.?
- Are you drawn to certain ecosystems or environments, such as the ocean shore or mountains? What do they mean to you?
- Would you say that nature is something you escape from or escape to?
- If you were an animal, what animal would you be? Do you feel connected to animals?
- What are your favorite places? To what extent are they connected to or removed from nature?
It isn't hard to imagine that these questions led me to deeply consider nature as a factor in identity construction.
As I began considering my relationship with nature, I immediately thought it was non-existent. I've never gone camping, and I felt that was a pre-requisite for being an "outdoorsy" person. However, as I began to answer the above questions, I noticed nature plays a more important role in my identity and life than I initially realized.
Although I may not consider myself an outdoorsy person, I appreciate nature. I love trees and autumn's changing leaves more than anything. I've had incredible memories that are very much intertwined with nature, like Kairos at Conference Point Center in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. And when it comes to considering ecosystems, I have escaped to beaches and mountains on numerous family vacations. Fortunately, these vacations were both relaxing and luxurious -- which are adjectives I would never have connected to nature.
Simply ruminating upon such questions has lead me to understand that nature is both prevalent and significant in multiple aspects of my life. My favorite and most meaningful memory, Kairos, was deeply enhanced by nature. The crisp, fresh air, glinting lake, wooded paths, and pouring rain added to the majestic feeling I had on the retreat. Many of my family vacations are closely tied to the feeling of sand between my toes or snow-capped mountains. Even on a daily basis, the tranquility I enjoy by going on a walk around my neighborhood is all due to nature.
Simply put, nature is all around us. It is impossible to escape our environment. Whether we seek refuge in the outdoors, or in the comfort of our homes, we are at all times tied to nature and interacting with it.
As my readers, I ask you to thoughtfully consider the questions posed earlier. What is nature in your life? How has nature made you who you are?