As Escape to Save

The feeling of liberation surrounds us, but the reality of restriction shadows true liberty. At work, expressions of honest opinions are limited to maintain a professional manner. At school, if thoughts fail to align with the professor, the grade reflects that failure. At home, compromises settle for happiness and betterment of the family. Therefore, true liberation hardly exists. Subconsciously, many realize this false truth and consciously find ways to cope. I resort to exercising outdoors. Over the summer I went on long runs through the trails of the refuge playing hide and seek with the groundhog, stopping by a toad eating supper, passing fawns browsing vegetation, battling a flock of hissing geese preparing to charge by Snowden pond, gliding into a canopy of a wise forest as the rays of the sun bounce off the green leaves, exiting into a meadow of extravagant milkweed, all to run alongside a deer. Every creature seems at ease with its existence and I am no longer a busy, working student. Rather, I am merely another mammal running my own course and that is where I find my liberation. During my Ecology lab, the class took a trip to Hemlock Grove, a park in the deciduous forest. We hiked through the forest to reach our destination where we conducted a lab plotting the particular areas. The purpose of the lab was to observe how forest succession changed as we went deeper, and the circumference of trees to estimate the time the area has been in succession. As we hiked in the morning, the birds were active, the ground was moist, and the air felt cool but comforting. Usually lab days are dreadful days, but this particular lab refreshed my mind. Another relieving and new activity I enjoyed is farming. Some of the members on the sustainability LLC floor took a trip to Arcadia farms to volunteer. Since the season was over, our job was to create beds for the radishes and garlic that would grow through the winter to keep the soil active until spring. We turned over the soil, broke up the clay, evenly distributed the tip layer, and collected left over sweet potatoes on the way. Farming provided another way to connect with nature through agriculture and labor, a perfect fit for someone like me who likes to stay active outdoors. This feeling of awe motivates me even more to remain active in the community to keep places open for humans to experience emotional attachment to the natural environment.

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One comment

  1. rogerwleblanc · October 29, 2015

    Wow Sonam! This is a very beautiful post. You make a great point that nature is sometimes the only place we can really feel like ourselves. Some of my most authentic experiences with myself and others has been in the natural world. I am so glad to hear that your experience in the LLC and your Ecology course has allowed you to enjoy more of these experiences. It was great farming with you at Arcadia. I hope you get to enjoy more of these trips with the floor in the future. In the spring the Office of Sustainability plans a well being retreat that incorporates farm service with meditation and discussion of spirituality in nature. I think you would really enjoy it – I will keep you posted about details as they become clear. – Roger

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