What is nature? As John Burroughs eloquently explains, “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my sense put in order." Nature plays a major role in all our lives; it protects us from damages and it's the only source that provides pure fresh oxygen. We as humans would not be able to survive on earth without the air, water, fire, earth (dirt or land) and the sky; nature provides us with all these essential needs.
It is also home to many living creatures such as, animals, birds, plants, fish and many more. Nature's forms are powerful in many ways; they have the ability to nourish oneself but also, if we are not careful, they can destroy a person as well.
Living in the 21st century, our yearning for the latest technology prevents us from relishing what nature has to offer. Many people all over live in cities and have their eyes hooked onto their computers or phone, and if they want to take a look at nature all they need to do is go onto their technology and Google the word “nature”.
But I can't fuss much about this, as I am no different from other people living in big metropolitan cities.
My awareness of nature was at a fairly normal level, until the last two years of my high school life. My parents made sure that my brother and I were exposed to nature as we grew up.
I recall going to the park after coming back from school or how we would go back to the countryside during the festival months, but all this changed when I started homeschooling. I did not get exposed to nature very much when I was studying, as my homeschooling was based in a building. My parents realized that and decided to bring us to the beach on our holiday, so that we could reconnect with nature.
Being in the water was the only one thing that I have always enjoyed. Since I was young, I always loved to go swimming or even just being on the beach. I remember the first time I went snorkeling with my parents, since I loved being in water, I wasn't scared but was anxious to go snorkeling. I thought swimming in the middle of the sea was like swimming in a normal swimming pool. I realized that I was wrong when I jumped into the ocean and put on my goggles and snorkel and peered into the waters below.
The first thing I saw were tiny small fish surrounding me and I was excited and a little grossed out by it, as the fishes were slimy when they brushed up against my skin. But as I continued swimming further into the ocean, I felt a whole new feeling. It was indescribable. It was like looking into a whole new world of beautiful bright, rich colors. The deeper I swam, the more breathtaking it was. In an instant you are gazing at a vivid red, blue or white coral and all you can sense is peace and relaxation.
Diving and snorkeling will always provide a sense of relaxation for me. Whenever I go on to explore the coral reefs, I feel a great hit of freedom and all the heavy weight I was carrying on my shoulders drops off as if I were weightless. I find the ocean to be a form of therapy, as the life in the sea lives in peace and calm- even the sound of fishes nibbling on the coral is relaxing. Some people would say "the ocean calms my restless soul” but for me, happiness and joy is what I feel when I am connected with the ocean. As Robert Wyland celebrates his feelings, “The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.”
Moreover, snorkeling and diving aren't the only way I try to connect with nature. Hiking is also one of the many other ways I try to connect with nature. Even though I stay in the city, there are still many places near the city where I can go to hike in Malaysia. Hiking is something very new to me; it is amazing to see how beautiful it is being in a jungle or forest. One of the things I love about hiking is the pure fresh air that the plants and trees provide. Even though I can't feel my legs by the time I reach the peak, the beautiful view and scenery I get of the city on one side and the nature on the other is spectacular.
Nonetheless, hiking can also be a scary experience for some people. I recall the first time I did an extreme hike with my parents and brother on Mount Kinabalu (Malaysia). I was still very new to hiking and didn't have much training. Therefore, I was really slow; even with all the right equipment, I was still struggling to hike up. I fell and hurt my leg and got a cut on my head around 1.5KM into the climb, which did not make my ascent any easier. But still I told myself that I should not give up; as Rikki Rogers points out, “Strength doesn't come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn't."
In fact, hiking is an activity that plays with oneself physically as well as mentally. I felt this as I was going higher up into the mountain; the higher I went, the more difficult it was for me to breathe and I felt as if the air was getting thinner by the minute. This is because of the altitude difference up in the mountain, and my body wasn't used to the difference. Therefore, I struggled a little while hiking up. But I took it as a challenge and pushed myself to make it up to the peak. Nevertheless, sometimes one should not push oneself too hard; once when I went hiking in India I couldn't make it up to the temple at the peak due to the altitude sickness I got. Even though I only had 1KM left to reach the peak, I had to hike back down fast while also struggling to breathe. When my mom told me that I was starting to turn purple in the face, I knew that I needed to go back down quickly to stabilize my body and bring it back to normal.
For the most parts, however, connecting with Mother Nature at all times are almost always wonderful, peaceful and relaxing experience for a person. Connecting with nature helps one to be healthy physically and mentally, not to mention have a balanced lifestyle. There are many benefits of nature that we can thrive on; it provides the basic needs of life for every living creature on this planet. More people should take the time to just appreciate the beauty given to us by Mother Nature and not take it for granted. As by A.C. Van Cherub warns, “With innovation and technology, seems we have forgotten to cherish the true beauty the world has to offer”; hence, it is high time we put down our phones, laptops and tablets and explore what Mother Nature has to offer.