“I was shocked to find myself standing in the debris of what had been a beautiful part of nature.” May 22.
I had written this after my first few days of treeplanting. Weighed down by over 300 trees on your hips and steel-toed boots, energy is quickly sucked out of you as you trample over and stumble upon a jungle gym of slash. It takes every ounce of mental and physical strength to get through every long day since you are experiencing the world’s ugly side in the worst possible conditions. At the end of the day though, you find yourself in an isolated forest of green scattered with around 40 other tents welcoming you to your new home for the next month or so.
“YOLO. A phrase commercialized and said by the youth in today’s pop culture, but solely understood by a few. I believe that I have grasped a particle of the actual meaning of it along this journey so far.” May 31st.
Every single day on the block, you are at battle with yourself in order to feed yourself with enough strength. At the end of the day, the people that you have been sharing your new home with have been through the exact same thing as you have. It is the moments that you can crack a smile, let go a sincere laugh and take pleasure in whats in front of you that counts. No matter how many bug bites you’ve accumulated, no matter how sore you are, no matter how mentally drained you are, no matter how hot or cold it had been all day; coming home to the bush at the end of the day was a golden moment. When you learn to take pleasure in each moment, simple things become more meaningful. The dirty showers were warmer, the food was mouth-watering, my sleeping bag was as comfortable as a lover’s embrace, jokes were funnier and time was spent wiser.
“This is what I mean by YOLO. You learn to actually live in the moment, exemplifying every emotion that you feel throughout the day.” May 31st.
One day, our boss had told us that we were to meet a side of us that we never knew existed that summer. And it is true. Whether you like it or not, living a completely different lifestyle will change you. Being constantly surrounded by open-minded individuals rubs off on you. You are no longer making yourself at home, but sharing it. And by living in the moment, you are allowing all the good and bad sides of you to be exposed to nature and the people you are living with. Doing this, you become more in touch with who you are and less ashamed of it. It is the most cleansing feeling to the body and soul.
“Detaching myself from the influences of society by living in the depths of nature and having no contact with the outside world has led me closer to my inner peace. The pressures that come with civilization and the pressures that we face about our futures seem like a faraway dream. I could live like this for a while.” May 26th.
So much of our focus in society is placed on the future and the past which creates anxiety where there should not be any. What happened to the present? Answers are exponentially clearer when we are more in touch with ourselves and can feel the strength of our personalities. The same strength that urges us day by day to replace negative thoughts with the positive. Living in nature makes you feel as if you are a part of it. It also makes you feel the connections, big or small, that you have with each and every person that you share a piece of it with. The ease of nature rubs off on you and changes your way of living. Forget flinching when you hear branches cracking close to where you have set up home. Forget breathing in cities and closed-in places and enjoying it as much as you did breathing the crisp air of the forest.
On the block however, the peaceful wave of nature that constantly overcame me, could glide off just as easily if a negative emotion were to come upon me. One thing to remember is that you should only bring yourself to the block. Nothing but your full potential and mind. No extra worries to preoccupy yourself because on the block, it will feel a lot heavier than 300 trees. By overcoming your baggage, you become someone that you never thought you were.
”Basically, I feel as if the essence of ourselves emerge after every planting day. The more that I live in the forest away from technology and outside influence, the more animal that I feel like we are all becoming.” June 2nd.
Being closer to yourself, means being more in touch with your desires and instincts much like an animal. I had never been so hungry nor have I ate so much in my life. My increased appetite for food had become equal to my craving to be close to people. When you unite alone in the midst of nature surrounded by noises of trees, birds and bugs; you feel close to everyone and everything.
“I am presently feeling even closer to the animals out here as I feel more as a part of their environment, Their home. I hear the noises of truck doors closing as people arrive and now I realize to what extent that these noises are disturbing to the sound of this simple life.” June 3rd.