(Photo Credit: Richard Coca) There comes a time where we must all branch out from our comfort zones and dare to truly live.
Reseda High School

Nature’s Role in My Life

“Who made the world? Who made the swan and the black bear? Who made the grasshopper?” -Mary Oliver

Throughout history, nature has acted as a muse to all humanity from poets like Mary Oliver to transcendentalists like Emerson, as well as to preservationists like John Muir. I am simply another soul down the line, who too is touched by nature. I am simply downstream from nature’s river of artistry. I tend to heavily draw upon nature as inspiration because, in all of its glory, it is both fragile and resilient. It is both mellow and harsh. A living paradox, nature lends itself over to science and to my soul. Nature plays a large role in my life because it beckons me to study what I love and explore the world I live in.

In Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Summer Day,” she begs the question of creation. “Who made the world?” It is of human nature to ask these questions. It truly is amazing that in nature, you’re able to see creatures who are both aggressive and down to earth as a black bear while also being able to witness the beauty and elegance of a creature such as a swan.

As our minds try to grasp a firm understanding our world, it’s nature who encourages us to think, to learn more about the world while undoubtedly learning more about ourselves. It’s nature who crashes on the rocks by the sea, showing us that nothing is permanent. It’s nature who paints the sky at night, telling Galileo to aim higher. It’s nature who inspires me to study biology. She goes by the name “Mother Earth” and also by Calliope, Clio, Euterpe, Thalia and Melpomene. She is the one who grabs our hand and pulls us towards the dance we call life.

In my life, I hope to study biology. I love biology because it studies the intricacies of nature. How organisms live together and how they’re shaped by their environment are existential questions. Learning about our biology and that of the world can benefit all, not only because it’s a suitable profession but because it teaches our lives’ lessons, which are worth living for.

In a sense, biology is both a science and a humanity. Through our climate, nature has impacted us in many ways from geopolitics to our ways of life. Since climate change is such a big issue, we have to now find a better way to live in harmony with nature. If nature is our muse, we’ve treated her poorly, and now she seeks to touch our heart through tragedy and grief. I am hoping to stop that. We must all hold our environment with deference.

Every year, I travel to Santa Rosa Island. That is where I learned to humbly submit to nature’s grandeur. Previous trips to the island always have fostered within me a great desire to promote the stewardship of resources and cultivate an appreciation for nature in others.

The island really does have a rich history and its native species are one of the many reasons why I dedicate time volunteering to protect the biodiversity of that island. The current restoration efforts on the island have shown to me that there is hope in getting society to change its current trend of disturbing fragile ecosystems in exchange for “necessary” resources.

Along with others, I have helped create a genetic inventory of insect biodiversity. I hope that one day all of humanity will be able to play a greater role in protecting nature just as nature has played a great role in our lives.

Nature is both fragile and resilient. It revolves around those found in it, from animals across every biome to the humans who partake in it as well. Nature plays a significant role in my life because it inspires me to improve myself every day and it pushes me towards a subject I love: biology. Nature offers me a refuge where I can reflect and contemplate the world and my life. It was in nature where I truly learned who made the world, the swan and the black bear. But more important, it was in nature where I learned who I am and who made me.

Life’s Greatest Canyon
“The transition from child to man is one of the biggest leaps,
the struggles in between are even larger in quantity.
But the rockier and steeper the peak, the greater the view will be.
And once man reaches the top,
he shall be rewarded with a peek at life’s greatest canyon.”