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Tessa Pesicka / Her Campus
Wellness > Mental Health

Lessons From Nature That Provide Quarantine Clarity

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Rhodes chapter.

After colleges made the difficult decision to close mid-spring semester due to the COVID19 outbreak, I, a disheartened mess of a freshman, packed my trunk and drove back home with only one question in mind “what now?”.  Although I was thankful to have a home to return to, being confined to four walls brought its own challenges. Everyday teetered between boredom and stress of the unknown. The screens of entertainment such as Netflix within the house only made me more sad. The news traveling seemed disheartening and the movie world no longer reflected the “new world” I was living in.  Neighbors and friends were just as worried as me, and rightfully kept their distance with the occasional check in.  Life seemed to lack luster.  I wanted to bring it all back. So, to return life’s shine, I pulled out my dusty hiking boots… and went for a hike.  Up the mountain I went,  huffing and puffing my way to every waterfall and overlook I could find. At first, I realized how out of place I felt in the green, wild woods. I was small compared to the trees towering over me. I was susceptible to scuffs, scratches, and spiderwebs as I waded my way through the tall grass. I was merely an ant in nature’s scope. But as time went on, the trees became familiar and each new path felt like a new adventure. Over the summer, I got the opportunity to explore Cloudland Canyon, The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Foster Falls, Fort Mountain, Signal Mountain, Mammoth Cave National Park, White Oak Mountain, and Lookout Mountain. By just being outdoors, I had skyrocketed past my roof. 

Here are some of the lessons I found while walking through the woods that provided me some clarity while in quarantine: 

  1. Nature keeps growing despite obstacles. In the city at the beginning of quarantine, businesses and events were shutting down and closing for good. It seemed everything was jolting to a halt. Meanwhile, nature was still blooming. The flowers were still blossoming, the trees were still swaying, and the moss was still sprouting.  Nature was persisting.  It wasn’t crying over a fallen tree. Sure, the rainstorms, floods, and hurricanes did leave their scars, but then nature just grew around it. It didn’t stop growing as long as there was an ounce of sunlight to be found.  So I thought: if nature could persist through this virus and still live just as beautifully as it always had, then my life could too. I too can persist, even in this new normal world. 

  2. Patience and stillness can be just as rewarding as grinding hard. Ever stopped and listened to the trees rustling? Or heard a golden finch tweet? Sit for a second, you might be surprised. Regarding patience, you won’t be able to hike to the top of the mountain in 30 min. It takes a little more time. You might have to hike a bit, climb a little, take a water break, and then keep climbing…but that’s okay.  The view at the end is worth it. 

  3. How to Identify flora and fauna. Let’s be honest, you could probably name more fast food restaurants than you could trees in your yard.  Don’t worry, I’m the same way!  I had always wanted to learn the names of flowers and trees, but never found the time to commit.  Well, here it was! Time served on a silver platter. Grab a quick book on birds, flowers, and trees and get to know your local hummingbirds, oak trees, and perennial flowers. Use the time you’ve got to learn something new, because there is always something new!

  4. Nature can miraculously be described as both tranquil and wild.  These adjectives are complete opposites, yet both can encompass nature’s character. Isn’t that kinda cool?

  5. Nature is my role model…but it needs care too. Nature is my role model. Nature seemed so alive, spontaneous, and strong. Just what I longed to be.  Yet, even with its strength, I couldn’t help but notice, the earth was in need of care. Along my hikes, I’d find plastic water bottles, discarded masks, and empty trail mix wrappers all hidden in the leaves. Some wrappers dated as far back as 2018 and had no intention of going away. Flustered, I made a mini-mission to pick up every piece of trash I saw while hiking.  But for each piece of waste I picked up, I’d witness another plastic bag floating through the wind on my drive home.  Like I said before, nature will persist. It always does.  But just like humans in quarantine, nature needs to be checked up on. It needs to be cared for, loved, and remembered in individual and community decisions. Otherwise, we will destroy our role model and lifeline towards tranquility. My point? Just a long story to give a friendly reminder to check up on the planet. Use this time to think about sustainable options, start recycling and reusing what you have, and reduce plastic disposal. With actions taken towards maintaining the environment we live in, nature can keep providing and teaching valuable lessons for all who venture into it. 


Hey! I'm Maya. I'm a sophomore at Rhodes College, a biology major, and art history minor. I love hiking, cozy sweatshirts, crafting, and stress baking. Catch me boppin' between coffee shops and writing little articles!