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One Small Step into the Woods, One Ginat Leap Towards Nature (Rachel Carson 2018)

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

***Hello all,

I have recently won first place the Rachel Carson intergenerational sense of wonder contest! While looking for some essay competitions, my school teacher recommended me this contest. I wrote about my experience of camping in the woods, entirely aloof from human civilization. I thought it might be worth sharing this essay. ***

That exceptionally cold Winter, we found ourselves deep in the woods, our cheeks helpless against the chafing winds. It was just the two of us – my grandfather and me; no one else had been crazy enough to camp out in this weather. We rushed to unpack our belongings before sun-down, and soon enough, an enormous curtain of blackness came down on everything around us. My iPhone and Coleman lantern were our only sources of light. 

What a change from the never-dying blur of neon lights from which I came! Indeed, this was my first experience of being blinded even to the ground before me, and I was terrified. I took recourse to the comfort of my tent, and to that of my iPhone. So all of that anticipation – all of that time and money spent on planning activities and buying cooking utensils – had been for nothing.

“I’ve lit a campfire!” said my grandfather, jolting me out of my languor. “Come out and see the sky!”

What could possibly be so special about the sky? I thought to myself, as I dragged myself out of my sleeping bag. But having expected bleakness, I was struck by a rapturous sight. A coruscating cascade of star lights, emanating from a constellation of gemstones, had painted the sky a magical Indigo. One of those stars glided as quickly into sight as out of it, leaving behind a luminous trail of stardust. Another followed in its path. Then, as if on cue, yet another. This choreography of nature took me back in time – back to a time far before the Earth was acquainted with humanity. And with that, my frigid discontent had completely faded. It was an experience beyond the best of words.  

“These starry nights were common in my day,” said my grandfather. I could only imagine what it would have been like to see Nature the artist at work every night. She didn’t seem to be on duty much where I lived. Indeed, to a vast majority of my peers, the scintillating work of her hands exists only in distant fantasies. The real sky, with its dust particles and artificial light, is too crowded for such beauty. 

But it does not have to be thus. Mother Nature, I sense, is pleading to be brought back into our reality. It’s up to us to make room for her, to reinstate her in the place which we have given away to greed. On that note, an exhortation to all in my generation: run out to your back yard, look up at the night sky. Detach yourselves from the frenzied cacophony of your urban life. Take the leap into the beauty of nature. 


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