The Power of Environment – Treeplanting Experience Summer ’14

 

 

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“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.

To All Bookworms

                                                        the-outsiders

The Outsiders is a book that I have read multiple times since my early childhood to today. The raw reality that the author feeds to the reader is incredibly satisfying. It beat all of the other sugar-coated young adult books stacked up on my wooden shelf in my room. The fact that it was written by a teenager who attacks the social issues of the particular time period that she was living in makes the story feel even more real.

The Outsiders takes place in the 1960`s, an era characterized by its great social and cultural changes. Hinton`s characters shed light on the influence that social classes and society`s prejudice views had and have upon predetermining one`s outcome in life situations.

Hinton pulls you into the story and forces you to see where you can relate to it. Her use of coarse and vulgar vocabulary along with the greaser slang that she uses throughout the book add to the truthfulness of her message. The author clearly portrays the tragedy that every battle in life does not finish with a fair outcome. She writes in depth about each character despite their position on the social hierarchy which help the reader easily connect to them.. She introduces a parallel reality. ”Just don’t forget that some of us watch the sunset too” which was said by Ponyboy to Cherry, creating a link of common interest between these two individuals who are stuck in the mold of their seperate gangs.

I may not have grown up in the 60`s without parents and being a part of a gang, but we all have felt like an outsider at some point. We all have dealt with the turmoil of stereotypes, social classes, prejudices, ideas and so forth being thrown upon us. We all have desperatly asked ‘why??’ and have never gotten an answer.

I choose though to focus on the most famous quote in this novel. Stay gold.

This phrase in the book refers to Robert Frost’s poem ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay.’

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leafs a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

To tell someone to stay gold, is to tell someone to hold onto their innocence. To look at everything as if it were new and to live with a clean slate in order to feel every moment that passes by instead of just letting it fleet. I can relate this feeling to every sunrise and sunset that i have witnessed. It is nature’s most beautiful hue of gold that for a short period of time initiates the beginning of a new day; therefore, new possibility. It is the decision to live in gold for a while longer knowing that it consists of the most precious moments rather than to fall with into the predetermined order of life. To fall into the inevitable tragedy of change, loss and grief without having any golden moments to hold onto.

What would you do if fear no longer existed?

Thantophobia. Atelophobia. Pistathrophobia. Athazagoraphobia.

When first reading this question, your first idea was probably that life would be a hell of a lot better. Imagine not feeling the current of fear brush over you every time you’re about to make an important decision or put yourself out there. Imagine not feeling that horrible vulnerability. To many, fear constrains us from pushing farther than the imaginary limits that we have drawn for ourselves. It’s the chilling sensation of the desire to avoid the stabbing feeling of rejection and not measuring up.

The paralyzing demon called fear that resides inside of every one of us is what characterizes and forms our identities. We all have different demons. We all have our own ways in dealing with them. We have been shaped accordingly and only few of us succeed in shredding the seams that confine us inside of this suit. What scares me the most, is what happens to people when they let their fears take over and define them entirely. What does a prevailing fear lead to?

Would everything really be better if fear didn’t exist?

If society were a person, they would not agree. To fear can save us from making rash decisions without any regard to the consequences that may follow. It prevents us from making unethical choices in society, which provides us with a safer and more careful environment and mentality. However, fear can be used as a weapon used to conform people into individuals with more inhibitions that are beneficial to the one holding the weapon.

To not feel the emotional weight of fear inside of you, wouldn’t that be great?

Courage is the resistance of fear, mastery of fear, not the absence of fear. Mark Twain.

Feel less fear. Feel less.

Fear can be a tool; a measuring stick. It can be used to measure goals and the weight of consequences. Without fear, can you really know how much someone or something means to you? Fear: the body and mind’s reaction when feeling threatened or endangered physically, emotionally, and mentally. Imagine letting the ones you love float away, because you were not able to measure their worth to you. Because you were never able to avoid it. To fear is okay, because you can turn it into something productive. Like curiosity or motivation or strength.

Fear is controllable, and is a choice we are given. It is designed to wake us up.

Quote

“There are time…

“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech.”

— Charles H. Spurgeon

How many people take the time to actually enjoy silence? The quieter you become, the more that you can hear. Most people speak for the sake of hearing their own voices and too many put no thought into how words can mean so much when strung together in a sentence. By being quiet, we can pay more attention to body language, cues that people give off, behaviors and noises. We can learn to pay more attention to who the person really is without the constraints of society and the influence of people around them that are unknowingly conditioning every word they say. We need to learn to focus on more than what a person says.

The loudness of silence, the sounds of raindrops falling, the steady hum of the fan in your room, the sounds of the breaths you take and the beating of the heart when you’re with a person whom you enjoy their company are all the noises of the world that we take for granted. Take the time to enjoy silence.

In the depths of silence is where we learn to find our inner peace. Living in today’s society where people tend to live a busy, media-ruled life, the ability to be comfortable in silence is a virtue and is becoming increasingly rare. In silence we realize how human we all are no matter what our social status is and no matter what influence society has upon us. Learning to be comfortable in silence allows us to slow down our thoughts and actually think. I am a person who likes to live in clutter; my mind however, yearns constantly for clarity. Being in silence helps me organize the clutter in my head and learn to detach myself from the unhealthy noises in society. Sometimes, silence is healthier than than hearing the potential beauty of each word be massacred by people uttering them for useless and thoughtless reasons.

The curious thing about silence is how it can get you out of so much trouble; yet in certain moments, it can cause you to miss out on a chance worth taking.

Welcome inside

I am a 20 year old girl who has wonderlust. Wonderlust is a word that I invented to convey the lust to learn and to allow myself to be curious. There are 7 billion people in this world that could teach you something about yourself or the world you live in. I also have a serious case of wanderlust, a word that I did not make up this time. It is the strong desire to travel and explore everything this world has to offer. I have not travelled yet, but it is on my agenda beginning after this summer. I will soon begin my journey by tree planting in Saskatchewan with my best friend, which is bound to be an experience of which I vow to share my experiences with whoever reads my blog, whether it be with one reader or with hundreds (shooting for the stars here).
I consider myself an introvert as often as I consider myself an extrovert. Basically, I am an ambivert meaning that I adore my alone time as much as I crave having meaningful conversations with the people important to me. I also have small group of friends who share a big piece of my heart. They have their own different and amazing qualities about them that I feel that I could spend my life learning from. Without these people, I would not be the person that I am today.
I love books, writing, all types of music, naps, thunderstorms, old movies, first kisses, long drives, walks in the forest and something in everyone I meet. I have many interests and do not let only one of them define me.
Now that you’ve had a taste of the person that I am, I hope that my blog will awaken the curiosity in you.