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A Little Dirt Never Hurt
I would definitely describe myself as an adamant nature lover. Though I must admit, its wide array of beauty is something that I used to take for granted. Whether it’s the white waters gushing down rolling hills, or the gollubs of pearly morning dew blanketing the garden, I’ve learned to appreciate it all. Learning to love nature is a lesson that I would never regret, and without it, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. The amount of convincing it took me to even try was incredulous. But my whole world changed one summer day.
It all started on a pleasant summer morning in Etobicoke, Ontario, in my grandparents’ apartment. We visit Canada every single summer and stay with them in their boxy minimalistic home. I was about to turn on the T.V. and watch the new season of my show, eagerly scrolling through the shows until I found mine and… the T.V. turned off.
I gawked and looked around to find the culprit. My mom stood in the doorway with the second remote in her hand and a tentative look on her face. Her dark brown hair was messily tied back and she wore a plain blue shirt. “Sorry, but we’re going out today,” she explained setting it down. “What? It’s literally eleven in the morning Mama,” I whined. “A new season of my show just got released on Netflix!” I made it sound like a big deal at the time, but the last month of school barely allowed me any time to catch a breath and relax. So unwinding that day with my show, was a big deal.
She, surprisingly, laughed it off. What was she hiding? It was the middle of summer, I just ate breakfast, and she wanted to go out?
“You need to get out of the house into nature! It’ll be fun!” She looked at me excitedly. It took me a while to think. If I did get out of the house, and hated it, I could prove my mom wrong. Then I could watch all the T.V. I wanted all summer. “Fine. I’ll go out into dirt filled nature with you,” I huffed, satisfied with my plan. Little did I know that my ‘plan’ wasn’t as clever as I thought it was.
My mom beamed and tousled my hair. “Good job sweetheart! That’s the spirit!” As she turned to leave, she peeked back in and said, “A little dirt never hurt anyway.”
After I got ready, we arrived at our destination. I noticed that we were at a port. The unforgiving sun beat down on us and over the water. Seagulls soared above the lake looking for potential lunch. “This doesn’t look like nature to me, Mama,” I pessimistically remarked. She laughed. “I’m aware. Just wait for it.”
Soon after, we got on a ferry and slowly but surely made our way across Lake Ontario. My mom saw me marvelling at the beautiful skyline of downtown Toronto and gave me a knowing look. The high afternoon sun made the aquamarine water glisten. I looked at her like a deer in headlights and remembered that I was supposed to be annoyed. I sat down and crossed my arms, bashfully looking away to hide my embarrassment.
It wasn’t long before an island came into view. We docked and as soon as I stepped onto the wooden port, I closed my eyes and inhaled the scent: food trucks, foliage, and flowers. The sound of children’s laughter filled the air along with the repetitive lap of water against the dock. The pristine sky was a blue slate, not a single speck of cloud in sight. My mom caught me staring up with a funny look on my face, and crossed her arms over her chest. We both knew that I was enjoying myself. I quickly frowned and knitted my eyebrows to finish off the act.
After that, we explored the island all day. We sat under a tree and pointed out different warbling birds. The branches made distinct shards of shattered sky and the warm earth enveloped us. We went down to the beach and waded out into the frigid water. Despite the temperature, the water was relatively tranquil. Seagulls cawed for food. Crustacean creatures scuttled about. Feeling the fine sand beneath my feet, I crouched down to scoop up a handful, like an ice cream scooper getting a glob of grainy sorbet. I picked at each individual grain, noticing the different colors and clarities. To remind myself that we weren’t by the ocean, I looked back to see beds of lush green grass and tall benevolent willows humbly bowing down.
Not long after, we were promenading around the island in circles. Nearby, a flock of geese, swans, and ducks fought for pizza crusts by the marketplace. My mom got me a pretty sun hat from one of the stalls. It was a creamy neutral beige with a powdered satin sash tied daintily around the brim like a decadent macaron. “Stop! I’m supposed to be mad at you!” I chortled.
The sun started to set and we went to watch it down by the beach. It looked like a bold, brilliant grapefruit sinking down in the orange-navy sky. I curled up in the soft, prickly grass against my mom and watched it disappear over the horizon until there was only a sliver of pulp left.
Spending my time indoors like an introvert, hidden away from the spectacles of nature is in my past. If I never agreed to go out that day with my mom, I would’ve never discovered a part of my life that I was longing for. A missing piece of me, that I’ll never stop appreciating for all it truly offers. So instead of wasting my time indoors, fulfilling nothing, I go out and answer to nature’s glorious cry.