One of the most significant steps towards becoming myself has been fostering my relationship with the land. As a person of Central American descendants, I have always been connected to nature. Whether it be tales of my ancestors or hearing my mother speak to our indoor plants, I have developed a bond with nature from a very young age that I cannot compare to anything else. My close friends often compare me to a small plant, which constantly needs sunshine and fresh air to feel content and truly myself.
Whenever I need guidance or seek something to lean on, I rely on the land and its powerful lessons to ground me. Despite the hierarchical tendency of Western culture, I believe that humans are not above nature but instead extensions of the natural world that should learn from fellow living beings. Numerous creatures existed hundreds of years before humans and still live alongside us today. Many humans have made the mistake of thinking of themselves as superior due to biological differences, instead of each creature as unique and able to teach something new. The best thing that humans can come to do is embrace a mutual, cooperative relationship with the land and other living beings. We should seek to learn the many lessons that the earth has to offer, including patience, respect, perseverance, humility and care.
We can learn about history and humans’ inability to subjugate the natural world through the land. We can admire its strength and endurance in the face of colonialism and countless wars. As Earth Day approaches, I believe that this is one of the lessons that ring loudest. Despite the realities of extraction, dispossession, and privatization of nature, the land continues to flourish and endure the malnourishment from specific human treatment. In times of chaos and climate destruction, it feels necessary to remember our part of the deal within our relationship with the earth. While we can reap the benefits of her fruits, it is not promised eternally and can slip away in a short manner of time. It is essential to prioritize the preservation and care of the land, now more than ever. While we can take individual actions and build our personal relations with nature, we must look towards collective action toward those who harm the earth.
We should all look for ways to nurture our home and the beings who inhabit it as well. As someone who benefits significantly from simply being outside and basking in the expansive greatness of the land, I hope others can enjoy it as much as I do. I hope that others can find stillness and gratitude when they see the trees standing tall around them and the water crashing within the oceans. If we nurture the land, it will continue to nurture us in return.