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Nature: From Past to Present

Intergenerational Description of Joint Project

As an environmental enthusiast, Jake was looking up related contests. He thought this one would be interesting because of the vastly different nature of his mother’s environment as a child and his own. Jake wrote the essay by asking questions about his mother’s (Molly’s) experiences with nature as a child in India. The chance to compare different views towards nature made the project special.

Celebration of Rachel Carson’s Sense of Wonder

We both had to explore the influence of nature particularly during our youth. By reflecting in this way, we were able to get in touch with nature by investigating our separate relationships with nature.

Nature: From Past to Present

She walks to the paddy field. Small fish run through the narrow and abundant rivulets in the field, accompanied by the tall and maturing rice. She doesn’t bother to play with the fish nor catch them for pleasure. She has passed the age of curiosity and entered one of practicality. These fish are food for the larger fish in the stream that the rivulets flow into. The larger fish interest her. They will become fish curry or fish fry that she will help cook to feed her family. Nature is the provider.

At evening she walks the goats to the green hill to graze. The goats will provide milk. The milk will make yogurt and butter. On the hill she is surrounded by the efforts of man to control nature even at its own cost. Nature gives the mango trees, teeming with green mangoes, waiting to ripen. Nature fills the trees in her cousin’s house with fresh cashews, ready to be sold. Nature even lends man the barren roads surrounded by more brown and depleted land. Nature is the provider.

Every day she relies on nature. Her relationship with the environment is not one of love or even the utmost care. If it was, why would she spray DDT on her crop, killing pestilent insects yet also harming nature? Then again, there was really no way she could know of the dangers of such pesticides, nor could she afford to exercise much care for the environment. She could not, nor would she desire to, stop her family practices such as burning old trash in polluting and using harmful pesticides.

North Carolina, United States of America 2013

I walk outside my suburban home to bask in the morning glory. I hear the songs and shouts of eager birds. I see the multiple trees compacted in my backyard, adorned with leaves as if to hide the secrets of the forest beyond. I can sense the essence of nature; I let if low through me. Nature’s living intricacies and numerous beauties fascinate me. I love nature; I value it for its complexities and its grandeur.

Such a relationship contrasts with the views my mother held toward nature while growing up in rural India. While I looked to nature as a source of emotional solace, my mother looked to nature for its functional value. While I, too, use nature for survival, this relationship is less direct. The food I eat, though from nature, is not something I find in my backyard. The shift in time and location has created an appreciation for nature not necessarily for the food or shelter that it provides, but also the beauty and spiritual stimulation that it carries.


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