First Post-Addie Ronis

As a young person I almost never felt drawn to the outdoors. My family did not emphasize the importance of spending time in nature and, since we lived in the New York suburbs, stumbling upon natural spaces did not typically occur. There was one day though that sticks in my mind as one of the first times I ever had that feeling of belonging in nature. I was in sixth grade and wandered off the bus from school with two other kids that lived on my street. The bus stops at the corner of the busiest boulevard in our town and Marino Avenue, where we lived. We walked away from the bustle and car rumbles of Port Washington Boulevard, past each one of our homes, down the meandering slope of the street, and into the woods that had maintained their mystery over the course of my sheltered youth. Weaving in and out of the trees, over the concrete wall covered in graffiti, along the quiet stream, I felt safe in the arms of nature. This area was not majestic by the standards of a well-versed nature-seeker, but it made my heart feel full. We stomped around in the stream and dug up silky mud. As we squeezed mud through our fingers, I began to unlearn all the fright and uncomfortability and doubt I connoted with the woods.

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