The unchanging forces: winds swift as rivers, carving out the landscapes of the future, seeding the earth’s progression as it rotates without question. As I write this, my eyes gaze longingly upon a dance of leaves. Leaves fallen from a tree, a poem in itself, which is honorably captured by Joyce Kilmer:

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
 A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
 A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
 Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
 Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

These leaves spin wildly above the concrete outside of the window I work beside. My glass shelter. Pontificating on the nature of people, why we seek power, why we choose to hide in modern caves. What comes to mind? An endless stream of metaphors flowing through the cracks in a tree trunk, as well as the cracks of a sidewalk. Often all it takes is a shift in our point of view to realize the inherent nature in all things, both manmade and crafted by the Earth.

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Nature is defined as “products of the earth, as opposed to…human creations” by Oxford American College Dictionary. This creates a rigid divide between what is natural and what is human. For what on this Earth has not yet been manipulated into a product of human creation? Oxygen for breathing, water for drinking, food for eating. All existing out of the Earth, yet altered, curated by man. As if we are somehow islands in a sea of nature. Quite the opposite, perhaps the ecosystem of a national forest, for example, is a precious gem, a “conservation island” as environmental consultant Lynn Scarlett puts it.

These escapes we run to when we want a break from the bombarding nature of a city, a break from the life we have chosen to hurry through hot on the tails of a sense of security, as we tuck ourselves comfortably away in our modern burrows, away from the grizzly teeth of weather and dirt. This is my personal experience. Yearning for the idyllic freedom of capering through a prairie, luxuriating in a stream, wallowing in sun-drenched grass. All perfect in my mind. As if nature can only be appreciated when in complete isolation. Separate. Segregated. The total opposite of what I choose to fill my life with. A foreign world to be enjoyed as a vacation, a holiday from everyday life.

The National Parks of America: a saving grace from the industrial, highway-laden sweep of this nation. A relic, precariously groomed into a symbol of the wilderness. A museum for the works of creation, guarded by the invisible line between what is nature and what is not. In truth, the wilderness we witness there is heavily sculpted by our own hands.

The environmental writer Emma Marris presents a call to action in her TED talk: acknowledge the nature that exists among us.

Nature as a pristine rarity leaves me unfulfilled. How unsatisfied I am to think that I only ever encounter nature when in the depths of a forest, or the vastness of a desert. In truth, it is my state of mind that keeps nature in this box. So, now, I choose to see it differently.

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The perfect blend of human aesthetics and nature’s own necessity.

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Nature is everywhere.

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We are of nature.

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