Today’s world pushes us to look at the systems and traditions we see as normal and reevaluate their meaning. When I read Allegiance to Gratitude I couldn’t help but look at the pledge of allegiance from an outside point of view and while I appreciate the value in having pride in the country you live in, I also couldn’t help but think about what the world would be like if we took time to appreciate the Earth on a daily basis. In the US especially there tends to be a disconnect with people and the planet, and something as simple as teaching children to appreciate what the Earth provides instead of just seeing it as something we take from could be so beneficial. On an individual level but also for pushing a new generation of people that will create positive change.
When reading about the experiences RWK had as a child camping in the Adirondacks, and how she described a feeling of unity and home, I couldn’t help but smile as I too have had that experience in that area. I have camped in the Adirondacks my entire life, and as soon as we pull around the bend to the campground I feel all my worries lift off my shoulders. There’s one spot on the road that leads to the campground where the leaves connect above the road. When we drive through the lighting in the car changes, everything is suddenly tinted green, and the spots of sunlight that peak through the leaves dance around the car. My family and I call it the “Tunnel of Trees”. There is an overwhelming feeling of safety and belonging when I think about that place, and when we get to that point I know that for the next week I will feel that way… safe, happy, connected to the world around me.
Since I’ve gotten older, I have taken trips up there at different times of the year. The leaves change, and even when I go without my family, the feeling doesn’t change. I have had so many experiences there that shaped my relationship with nature and it will always be the place that I can go to and feel at home.