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A Transcendentalist Reflection This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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The walls around society give way to a new set of walls: those of nature. Only these walls do not limit; they inspire, and they beg to be explored and overcome. A gentle breeze cools an otherwise humid day. The foreboding clouds obscure the sun from the naked eye. Dead silence fills the air as I wander this new environment, losing myself in my surroundings.

Thirty minutes. Thirty minutes of silence, save for the chirping of crickets responding to the calls of birds, as well as my own footsteps, which seemingly echo throughout the environment. Thirty minutes without material possessions, without communication, and without limits. The wooded walls seem to beckon for me as I wander, aimlessly searching for something, yet searching for nothing at the same time. The sense of freedom is daunting; in a society where humans are “civilized”, and the natural environment gives way to concrete jungles, there is something almost foreign about the primitive concept of exploring nature. Yet the sensation, oddly enough, feels all too familiar, as if the generations past are influencing my every move.

I observe my surroundings: the overwhelmingly tall trees behind me, the fresh dew resting on dying autumn leaves, and the view of a field looming beneath me, begging me to explore it. I approach a particular plant that stands out, its bright red leaves providing a sharp contrast to the somewhat depressing mood given off by the other plants. I take one of its leaves in my hand, feeling its every detail, determined to find some characteristic that, much to my dismay, does not exist. I eventually realize that as a part of nature, the leaf exists in equilibrium with the rest of nature, and therefore must be taken as a part of a whole. This collective entity of nature ultimately overwhelms me as I struggle to comprehend it; perhaps nature is not meant to be understood by people who exploit it without giving back to it.

The sense of isolation dawns on me as I realize that I am not alone, yet I feel completely separate from the world I live in. The others around me simply do not exist anymore, as I lose myself in the sensations of nature. Yet all good things must come to an end; the illusion of being one with nature is broken as the calm voice tells the others and me to return indoors. Somehow, the industrial world I am used to is not the same when I return. The walls constrict once again, instead of tempting me to explore every inch of my surroundings. The voices, rushing toward my newly opened ears, do not hold the same appeal as the sounds of nature. The world of the civilized simply is not the same as the sensual world of nature. Someday, maybe I will return to this world, long forgotten, left behind by the progress of society and technology. Yet for now, I can only stare at these walls and dream of breaking them down.





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