In honor of Earth Day, the Foghorn staff, which hails from Hawaii to Louisiana, reflected on why spending time in nature matters to us. After a year of social distancing and quarantining that has made maintaining our relationships with other people more difficult in many cases, at the Foghorn, we have taken solace in improving our relationship to the Earth.
Even though many of us now reside in cities, several members of our staff grew up surrounded by the beauty of Mother Earth and have always seen it as an integral part of our lives. From the beaches of Hawaii, to the mountains of Washington, to the flatlands of Kansas; it wasn’t until we moved to San Francisco for school that many of us realized this was not the case for everyone.
Spending time outside grounds and revitalizes us. We benefit physically, mentally, and emotionally from nature when things get overwhelming, as we’re inspired and moved by its incomparable perseverance and beauty. On top of this, being in nature can be incredibly spiritual — it offers time away from the stress and complication of everyday life, often cultivating a deep sense of clarity.
Just being out in the sun can give us a serotonin boost, as light has been proven to boost moods and be beneficial to mental health. Though we rarely think about it, nature’s gifts have been a constant in our lives through the years. No matter where we go or what point we are at in our lives, rivers are always running, and trees are always swaying. In an ever-changing world, this stability is grounding.
Simply sitting outside and listening to birds or babbling brooks helps to relieve tension that builds up during the day. Spending time outside has become one of our favorite forms of self care. The sounds of a thunderstorm are awe-inspiringly powerful, but soothing, and floating in the ocean gives us a sense of weightlessness. Even the blanketing fog and breezy Bay winds of San Francisco can offer peace of mind to students in the city.
In a way, the limited confines of quarantine have positively impacted our relationship with nature and inspired a new appreciation of and for the Earth in us. When it wasn’t safe to be anywhere but our homes in the early stages of the pandemic, going on a walk or a run was a saving grace. As things slowly return to normal, we shouldn’t forget how important it is to appreciate all that the Earth has to offer and all we can offer it. It was here long before us and it’s our job to make sure it stays around long after us.
Nature is an inexpensive, and yet priceless, way we can reconnect with ourselves and others. As busy college students who too often don’t look up from our phones or take our headphones off, it’s easy to ignore the immaculate flora in our neighbors’ yards or the warmth of the sunshine that illuminates our faces. There’s so much beauty and simplicity in nature that we don’t appreciate enough, so today, and from now on, let’s keep our devices in our pockets from time to time and go forward with a renewed appreciation for the natural world around us.
Check out the staff’s accompanying Earth Day photo essay.