I’m not really a backpacking girl. I don’t typically “rough it” in the woods.
Suburbia is my closest friend, as I refuse to go in the same room as a spider, can’t handle a couple of days without a shower, and don’t consider hikes a good time.
Picture the movie scenes of a typical blonde girl running around the woods screaming her head off with her hair in curlers and her nail polish still drying.
This is me.
My IB Environmental Systems and Societies class took a field trip to Hidden Villa last Thursday. Now first, one must realize that high schoolers don’t usually go on field trips. When we left the playgrounds and swings behind in elementary school, the field trips went with them.
So naturally, I was pumped.
I was missing two tests - missing a day of high school always has its costs - but I was prepared to go out and bond with the ferns and Bay laurels.
We arrived on the foggy Thursday morning in our sweatshirts and jeans, ready for a good time. I really had no idea what to expect, although I had been promised the petting of the piglets. They had reached my soft spot.
We played some team bonding games, visited the compost pile and spent some time in the pigpen. When the pigs came over and rubbed their muddy noses on my freshly washed jeans, I actually didn’t care.
This surprised me.
Next we moved on to the chicken coop. First I had to get caught in the electric wire to get into the enclosure - no worries, it was turned off - adding to the adventurous day. We were taught the proper ways to pick up a chicken; we were to watch their talons relax and close in on themselves, as they stayed nestled in our arms.
I want chickens.
I wouldn’t mind the dirty work. I think it might be fun actually - another surprise.
After we successfully escaped the bounds of the electric fence on the way out, we headed to lunch to lay on the grass and bask in the beauty of the valley.
Next came the hike.
As I stated before, hiking isn’t really my forte. This isn’t entirely true. Sometimes hiking is the last thing on my mind, but sometimes I’m kind of neutral on the subject.
But hiking will never be equal to Disneyland in my mind.
On Thursday we made our way up the valley, passed groups of grade-schoolers burying each other in leaves, and climbed our way up to a magnificent view.
I was speechless…which is a rarity.
Nature doesn’t normally take me by surprise, but it did three times on Thursday. I could see forever it seemed, and not houses and football fields, and schools and basketball courts. No, I could see trees. They were green, luscious and full. Along the creek they were more of a golden color. Gorgeous. Breathtaking. Marvelous.
My camera got a good shot.
Then, as this moment passed and we continued to walk, I couldn’t help thinking - I could have stayed there forever. I wanted to plant myself down and sit and write and dream and let my mind wander. To forget about the two tests I was missing and to not worry about which college will accept me.
I could just close my eyes and breathe.
I take so much for granted. I rush into things and always think about what else I could be doing to be better. What more can I sign up for, volunteer for and attend?
I spent one day away from school and it was the best classroom. I don’t need to be indoors or on campus to learn. I can learn anywhere. If my grandparents tell me a story about their childhood, I can learn from that. I can learn from anything.
That’s the power of the human brain. That’s the power of humans. I don’t need to be in an urban area to do great and powerful things. I can start on a small scale at places like Hidden Villa Farm. The little things do add up.
My dirty jeans need to be washed. My homework needs to get done. I need to finish this article. But which one should I prioritize? Which one should I do first?
I don’t know. Maybe I should approach things just like nature does in a metaphorical stance - to spread my branches wide, take each day at a time, and be thankful for what I have around me.
Nature has gained another recruit. Look out world. I’m coming.
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