“Describe your first memorable experience exploring and spending time in nature. Were you in awe? Or were you not impressed? Would you rather spend time in the forest or the city?”
“Dad, where are we going?”
“We’re walking, Chipo,” he replied as he marched on. My ten year old mind wasn’t entirely satisfied with his response but hey. I was with Dad. We were spending time together. I was happy. We continued to walk. The midday sun was starting to affect me. My skin was starting to tingle; a bead of sweat was forming at my forehead; my legs were starting to ache.
“Dad, where are we going?”
“We’re taking a walk,” he replied calmly. I was starting to become annoyed by his response. We’d left my aunt’s home half an hour earlier. My aunt lived in the “countryside”/middle of nowhere in sunny Zimbabwe. I often loathed these visits because it meant no TV all weekend – just chickens, guinea pigs, and traditional food. As a ten year old, that was the equivalent of punishment. Now, at my age of twenty, I miss those days. Anyway.
Dad had decided to make me his walking companion. As an eager Daddy’s girl, I’d acceded with the enthusiasm of a squirrel on Red Bull – yes. As we continued to walk in the near-desert area, I was beginning to question my eagerness. I thought of the big shady tree that we’d left behind. I thought of the little puppies I’d abandoned. My legs were starting to hurt even more. Where’d this uphill terrain come from? I wondered. I wiped my brow. A couple of beads of sweat followed my arm. I wanted to complain but I felt bad. Dad looked like he was enjoying this enduring excursion. He was sharing all sorts of stories with me and there I was, trying my very best to pay attention. Suddenly, Dad stopped. I walked right into him.
“Dad, why did we stop?” I asked. He took my arms and turned me around. I was soon faced with a view that took my young breath away. Miles and miles and miles and miles of land covered with trees, sand, and more trees, filled my eyes. A wonderful, cool breeze embraced me as I took in the amazing view. Spans of land everywhere and there I was, looking at it from the top of a mountain range I hadn’t noticed before. Silence filled us all around and it felt good. Sure I was far from my TV and my comfortable modern home. Sure I was in a place where I had to watch people herd cows and plant seeds as small as my eyelashes. But I liked it. From where I was standing, I really liked it. My first encounter with nature and I loved it.
Nature over the city? Most definitely. Nothing beats the feeling you get when Nature comes and reminds you of how wonderful the world you live in is – despite the hustle and bustle, madness and sadness, crazes and mazes we call the big city. Nature forever reminds me of the good in the world, the hope we always cling to. Nature reminds me that we’re here for a reason and that reason is much bigger than ‘just living’.