The wind is blowing the branches on the trees gracefully. The mix from the past rainstorms and heat from the sun currently has created my perception of the perfect temperature. I feel the air blow through my hair going to the skin on my scalp. The presence of nature isn’t something I have to seek now; I can indulge in this warm invitation anytime I feel selfish enough to do so. Evidence of my past separation of nature is clear, but I no longer feel like the past is held against me. In nature, I feel free. Freedom is priceless, no amount of money will buy you this. I reached deep in my soul like I was a kid digging in his mom’s purse for a quarter for the toy machine. I feel the difference now from being outside and inside before that wasn’t so evident. The difficulties in my life I’ve handled with grace; I place them in my hands, and I delicately put them away. I don’t believe any amount of harshness will fix your problems, your real problems. In the future, from this moment, any motor speech difficulty or unpredictable blood level test will be handled gracefully. Nature has taught me not to be so harsh. Life is harsh, granite, but I and nature don’t have to match life. I don’t believe anyway I’ll wake up and say, “I conquered it all, I’m happy. I’m cured” what I struggle with will carry with me throughout my life. While I carry this weight with me like pounds and pounds of rocks in my bookbag, I can tell you I am a survivor, even if I stumble over a word. My words are valuable. I fought for the voice I have now.
Author: Jordan LeVan
The branches on the trees are barely shaking. The weather is windy but warm, and the
When I am in my place, my thoughts run loose but they seem not to race as much. I get to thinking about the past and what ways I can reconnect with nature. For me, making that connection is taking the power back; this is like saying, my health doesn’t own me. My health status doesn’t define me. My speech disorder doesn’t take away so many multiple ways I can use my voice. I use to almost stained by it. It’s like when you spill wine on a white tee shirt and try for hours to get it off. You are there scrubbing, desperately taking your soap and sponge feeling your muscles clench as the minutes go by. You feel the heat to at the temples of your head and sweat starts to reach the surface of your skin. After a while, you start to lose your breath. After a while of trying to remove the stain, and you realize you cannot, and you accept you can’t remove the stain. My voice is owning my truth and accepting it. It’s this alternative form of confidence for me. I use to be so ashamed of my struggles, why didn’t others struggle with speaking? Why did I have to be born with this? However, I have learned to be a voice and not a victim. I will never be a victim. I refuse it.
Unstable like the Weather
Unstable. A word that reflects prone to change or
Stable. A word that indicates in the medical community that a person isn’t deteriorating. A word I have been hearing within the past few years. While this status doesn’t mean I am recovered nor healthy, it can be a relief. While levels fluctuate and the future remains unpredictable, I can keep in mind the weather in nature changes in status too.
In my place a week ago, it was snowing in April. I saw the small snowflakes fall while my mind was in shock. The next week, it was eighty degrees and I felt the sun beating on my skin like a tattoo needle. Crazy, right? I keep in mind nothing stays the same. We never know what is coming next. We can’t predict the rest of the day, tomorrow, and the years to come. We only know what is in this moment. Time stays still but our thoughts race like the wind like hurricane weather.
I hear the wind in my ears. The flowers and scenery in my place, The Guilford Woods, is expanding like my sense of knowledge about nature. Nature is filling in the parts of myself that weren’t always secure. I have felt like in past not being so secure with my health and myself, that I wished my body I could cleanse with holy water; maybe if I dived into it that would save me. I’ve found now since diving into nature, if holy water touched my skin now it wouldn’t sink into the pores my skin. Nature has comforted me to make me realize I don’t need saving from someone else. Nature can take put myself back in my body and help me accept me for who I am. I’ve looked for the person I am today for the past twenty-one years. It was like I was desperately looking for a savior. I’ve came to realize I can only save myself.
Wrapped in the Leaves
Tap tap tap. I hear these few sounds from the gate in Guilford Woods that refuses to be anything but silent. I closed the gate to preserve my sanity. The gate is something that was
Connecting with my place is something that is vital in order to become one with nature. I do this by reflecting on my past struggles and finding
Healing by Choice
My nose is stuffy. I see on the recent newscast where a photographer captured all the insane amounts of pollen on camera. I think to myself, “Nature, you’re already starting to play pranks on me?” I see where almost every tree and living thing in nature around me is becoming back alive; after multiple rainstorms, unstable weather temperatures fluctuating, and our own species abusing it. I’m starting to speak on behalf of nature in a positive better way because nature is alive. Trees are living things. The White Oak tree in my place doesn’t express emotion, but the imagery of it expresses what all it has been through. Multiple wounds from the storms and green leaves are alive again. Nature heals itself after the storm; this is not because anybody told it to or demanded it. Nature simply does this by itself. The reflection of nature I place onto myself because as it turns out, we are not so different. I’ve chosen to heal because it’s my choice. I chose to take care of myself not because nobody told me
There are old dried up leaves on the ground. If I tried to count all of them, I would simply lose my mind. You can tell my place has been through a lot, but yet it is still there. I start to admire the strength of nature. We tend to put it through hell. We are so busy with the media and our phones, we start to ignore the simple things like avoiding to use plastic bottles as much. We start to lose ourselves because of mediocre comparisons portrayed by the media. We underestimate what all of us have been through. I believe nature doesn’t make these comparisons. Nature doesn’t try to compare traumas. Nature is still. Nature is graceful.
Nature needs to be protected however. The Guilford Woods is a historical place that should be preserved, however, we have to be proactive. From Guilford College Woods for Preservation, I got the following information about recommendations. The historical plaques for locations had been pointed out. There was much more encouragement for individuals to interact and get to know The Guilford College Woods. A sense of awareness was brought in to encourage the community to dive into the woods. Guilford College wants first years specially to get to know the woods, and this is through guided tours, First Year Experience Presentations, and so forth. Guilford wants to allow people to continue walking through the trails also for the benefits of their health. However, the issue of waste management was still an issue. Therefore, trash and recycle bins in the woods were most defitenly encourages to decrease the presence of litter.
I’m on my two feet. I attempt to let go of any negative presumptions of the world around me and judgemental thoughts. I’m allowing myself to be engaged in the world around me. I hear my fellow peers laughing going down the gravel road, rain from the past storm dripping from the leaves to the ground, and the sound of a squirrel going up the tree. I unfold myself like I would a piece of paper; you can see where I am creased from being set in my ways before, and you can see where I am wrinkled up from damage that has been done before. I have scars, and I wear them like a trophy; it’s just like I won a war. I don’t try to hide them anymore, because in Japan broken objects are often repaired with gold. Nobody is ashamed of gold. I let myself be open, and I accept I am free. My past and medical records are something I can’t unsee. I acknowledge my struggles and bring them to the light. I’m allowing myself to be vulnerable in this moment, because before I hid behind doctors doors & pharmaceuticals.
The Guilford Woods is my place where I am connecting with, and I’m connecting more with nature every day. Just today I found myself pausing even on the sidewalk because I thought the leaves blowing in the wind sounded beautiful. A few months ago, I would’ve been running to my car not paying attention. I’ve had this disconnection with nature I never really acknowledged because I was never connected in the first place. I have a rough health history I’ve had since a child. After you’re missing one and a half of your two kidneys, your parents want to keep eyes on you at all times. Everything becomes cautionary. Doctors are wanting you as a kid to stay inside the classroom or sit on a bench, while everything in me wanted to be like the rest of the kids. I acknowledge my health
Connecting with nature also involves acknowledging what happened in my place before I got there. I’m taking a look at the history of my place, and I find information about the Quakers interesting. Quakers have found a relationship with Guilford Woods and The Underground Railroad. According to The Guilford College Woods: Assessment, Planning, and Recommended Strategies for Preservation, Quakers of Society of Friends had worry about the issue regarding the failure of ending the act of slavery; this was a big deal in the past and much disagreement was present. The clear light was given that slavery was
I went back to my place today, The Guilford Woods, after going through fustration with my college courseload. I felt like me just being in nature and being still was something I could benefit from. I sat down on the grass and started just looking aroud me. I was fascinated that when I am being still and not just being in my head, I notice the small things. I saw a squirrels climbing on the trees and leaves still falling. Everything around me was still happening, but I was just taking time to be present in the moment.
The Guilford Woods has history that when I have researched that has fascinated me. It was the site of encampment of British and American troops in the Revolutionary War. Also to mention Refuge for enslaved Africans who were looking for freedom from the Underground Railroad. Additionaly, Quaker men escaping Civil war Confederate draft in the 1800s. This place has so much history that I wasn’t even educated about. From doing research, I have learned about John Dimery’s escape; this man moved to Indiana in the year 1819. The year of 1819 is the earliest reported year of Underground Railroad activity.
I took a moment of time to walk around my place and more of the outside of it. I wanted to observe what was around me. I walked around the lake and noticed where there were things man made around me. For instance, people put wooden poles on the side of the gravel in the picture above. There were seating near the lake that people put. After research, I discovered the lake was man-made; this doesn’t come as a shock however. On my walk, I had noticed one or two bees around me buzzing. I would have rather see a different creature, but I’ll take what I can get. I tried to look into the lake to see if any fish or other animals were present. I stood there for a good ten minutes before my attention span got the best of me, but I never noticed any animals in the water. I’ll be interested when I come back to my place and walking around if any will be present in the months yet to come. The months ahead will come and nature will change.
The Guilford Woods; My first glance
Although I am no stranger to Guilford College, I was a stranger to the Guilford College woods before claiming it my “place” for my class. I’m a fan of nature, I love the beauty of the trees and the wilderness of it all. However, I rarely participate in interacting with nature. When I was young, as stated in a previous blog post of mine, my health condition(s) seperated me from nature. As I am getting older and more stable with my health, I am choosing to attempt to connect with nature. What is a better place to start than the Guilford Woods?
As I was walking through the woods, I stumbled across the beginning of the woods. Although perhaps other people would choose to dive deeper into the woods, I wanted to look at the place that may be often overlooked. Since I haven’t myself got deep in my relationship with nature, I wanna ease myself into this process. I see the trees upon first glance; some of the trees are tall while others are short. I see branches on the ground that are perhaps down due to the weather. I see that the constant rain storms we have been having had an effect on my look of the place. Although this may not be a positive side effect of the rain, I could see there was a positive effect with how the grass looked and other greens. The nature in this area appeared more alive then previous months. With the recent month being March, and spring time approaching, I could see my place was alive. I felt a positive correlation for myself with this. While the area around me felt more alive, I began to feel more alive in this moment. I took a few moments to walk and just sit down in the grass. I was afraid of getting my clothes dirty at first, but then I began to question if I actually cared or not. I noticed a green sign that was labeled Guilford College Woods, that told me about the place I was entering.
Although I am focusing on this one particular area, I took note the sign told me The Guilford College Woods in full was a total of 240 acres. European American friends also settled in this area in the 1700s. I found this information fascinating because I tend not to pay attention to history. However, this reminded me this land has stood still for hundreds of years. Before I was here and born, this land was still here. I’m just another human being passing through this world and land. However, my experience will be distinct from any others; because everybodys perspective is completely different.
Can You Take Shelter?
Today I sat in my place from a distance, that distance
I looked around me and as I glanced, I noticed puddles and the creeks around me overflowing with water. The earth around me couldn’t avoid the rain and take shelter, but I could. I guess the main difference between me and nature is I don’t like the rain. I’m sure nature has its limits and all with rain, they don’t want to be flooded.
Me going to my place and sitting down felt odd. I looked around for a few minutes and observed my surroundings. I see trees five times my size, leaves that have fallen and you can tell they’ve been there for a while, and branches fallen everywhere from so many rainstorms over the past few days. I practice mindfulness a lot, I like to try to be present in my everyday life. As I sat here, focusing on the things around me, it occurred to me nature is still even when I am not. When my brain feels like it’s freezing up, things are falling, and like it’s raining; nature can take all these things and still remain impact. My self-realization from this was, even when my brain tricks me into thinking I’m not in the present moment, I still am. Although I’ve always felt this sort of disconnection with nature, this was some common ground we shared. Maybe we aren’t all so different after all.
I didn’t spend much time outside growing up because I was allergic to everything that is outside including pollen, grass, and hay. I’m able to not have such severe allergic reactions at my age now, so when I go outside now, it’s like something foreign and new to me at times. I was a sick child, so most of the time I was indoors. My parents were afraid for me to go outside because they worried I would get hurt. For example, I never learned how to ride a bike. Although all this nature has always been around me, because of my health history, it’s still something that seems so different.
In my last post, I talked about how I viewed my place outside my window. This is because my place