This week we’re sharing the first place junior winner of the Student Nature Writing Contest, held by the Audubon Society.
By Bony McKnight, Grade 5, Coastal Grove Charter
The past two years have been really hard for me. Nature has been the main way I’ve dealt with all the difficulties Covid has brought. Hanging out with friends is way more stressful with masks and social distance, and there’s so many boundaries for everything, with the threat of Covid hanging over us all, even if we’re vaccinated. Getting outside, away from all my troubles and difficulties has something really calming about it. It’s like waking up and realizing I can just step away from everything for a minute, and when I come back I’ll be calm enough to carefully sort everything out, and not get frustrated halfway through.
I’ve been really anxious lately, about almost everything, and I don’t have much patience with anything. School, accidents, arguments, so many things I just don’t have patience for. Nature helps calm me down, and center me. In some ways nature also reminds me of the world of Covid we’re living in right now. Mainly the ocean. Sometimes you have to let the waves of fear crash over you, before you can reach calmer water. But you have to be strong mentally, and physically, to pull through. Not everyone makes it. Wearing a mask and getting vaccinated is like starting to swim through the waves of fear and confusion and work your way to calmer water. There’s so many things to be worried about, but for me nature’s not one of them. It’s a whole world of calm and wonder that I can let myself relax in.
I remember running my hands through the sand at a beach looking for shells. And then I saw a shell, a very small shell, rolling around right where the waves were crashing. It’s just very magical, seeing something so small and fragile not being destroyed by something so big and powerful. Seeing it made me think “I can do this too. I can be strong enough to stay strong during such overwhelming times.” You don’t need to be physically strong, you just need the strong thought of “I can do this,” and you just need to believe in yourself.
Nature has taught me to believe in myself, and I’ll do everything I can to help it, in return.