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 My Heaven on Earth

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The Nations public lands provide me an escape; it is an escape into clarity and calm.  Most days are complicated by technology, deadlines, attitude, and overall chaos.  Overtime, my mind becomes cluttered and overwhelmed by all of this.  Hiking, running, and camping on public lands is a way for me to self-soothe and release the built-up stress from everyday life.

Perhaps the reason I find the Great Outdoors so intriguing is its purity and steadiness.  The public lands are unchanged, free from human influence; these facts alone make them the most real thing in my life.  I can trust what is real.  Another environment does not exist for me, than that of our public lands, where I can reveal my deepest hurts and most difficult struggles.  The dense, impenetrable shrubbery and strong, towering trees shield me; it is my natural armor.  I know that when I am surrounded by such innocence that I am free from judgments.  Nature listens to our every thought and embraces them for what they are.  As distressing and painful as our thoughts may be, nature remains steadfast.  I could scream at the top of my lungs only to hear my cries dissipate in the distance.  My cries are shared and then consumed by my surroundings; this is nature’s way of sharing and relieving my pain, my hurt.

Our Nations public lands also provide me with an awakening of the senses and a feeling of fulfillment.  I listen to the shuffling of the leaves, the songs of the birds, and the whispers of the winds.  Sometimes I feel that this music, this harmonious music, is created only for me; nature is acknowledging that I am present.  I can smell, even taste, the strong scent of pine and foliage.  The cool wind on my face and soft ground under my feet is energizing.  I could carry on for hours, even days.  There is so much to experience on our public lands.  Each season provides me with a new opportunity and a new picture.  The fall season showers me in a bouquet of colors – red, orange, yellow, brown, green, and purple.  The winter covers everything in snow and ice, which is a beautiful and humbling experience.  I walk through our public lands admiring the strength of the trees that bear the extra weight of snow and ice.  The spring season is my favorite time to walk through our public lands and experience the new life.  Trees grow new leaves and flowers while the wildlife scurry around in excitement for the new season.  All the physical sensations and experiences that I have from these lands fill me up; it fills an otherwise empty vessel. The emptiness that I feel is made whole by nature’s pleasantries and hidden treasures. Nature provides me with new life and a fresh start.   

If I were to describe what our public land’s represent in three short words, I would say, “Heaven on Earth”.  On these lands, I not only feel at peace but most alive.  I am able to heal from my struggles by expressing my hurts and I can, once again, be fulfilled with life and energy.

Submitted by: Tiffany B