It’s crazy to think about how many versions of ourselves evolve from each experiece that is encountered over time. In my case, high school merged into a multitude of traveling adventures, which then rolled into the very new collegate experience. Each time these new chapters of life unfolded, they were all-encompassing and became integrated into the very core of my identity. I went from sentimental high school graduate to humanitarian freedom fighter to over-eager student within the span of a year.
Yet, believe it or not, another chapter has been splayed out before me, giving me yet another filter through which to see this great big world. I’ve been taking part in the Kupu HYCC Summer Program, this great program offered by a local nonprofit organization that gives youth a chance to see places on the island that are inaccessable to the public eye, and to malama the ‘aina (take care of the land). It’s sort of a gateway internship into environmental conservation, but it’s more than that because we are able not only to learn more about the environment but also about the culture of this place we call home. Doing painstaking work out in nature really reminds us how out-of-touch we normally are with nature in our everyday lives. When you let yourself forget about all the ins and outs of everyday reality, and instead feel the grass between your toes, and listen to the unruly billowing of the wind, there is so much more to learn and feel than by just picking up your phone and going on snapchat. There’s something in the wordlessness of the wind that speaks wonders.
Close your eyes. You’re sitting on grass, the wind caressing your hair, feeling the sun’s warmth bathing your skin and the intensity of the silence only broken by the roaring of the wind.
In today’s fast-paced age of electronic communication as well as electronic antisocial disorders, it is hard to picture that the Earth on which we reside was once a whirling sphere of natural beauty. Rewinding to times before human existence, nature found an ecological balance that kept its species in check, creating a sort of natural unity in all things. Of course, to say it was perfect would be stretching it a bit, since there were drastic changes in climate and many mass extinctions caused by natural means that had nothing to do with human kind. Yet here we are today, accelerating and altering all life processes to the point of creating antisocial social networks and unnaturally rapid climate change.
Where do we all fit in this whirlwind of reality? you may ask. Well, when considering the immensity of the world’s problems historically and currently, it becomes quite overwhelming to pinpoint one’s own place in all of the chaos. Yet, if one just takes the time to just sit down beneath a tree and watch the leaves rustle, the cacophony of craziness that is the world disappears as we reconnect to the land we come from. It doesn’t solve anything, of course. But when there is a world spiraling so far out of one’s control, these moments of observation and total immersion may not be a bad idea after all.
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