I never walked anywhere I could run as a young girl. I was a classic tomboy catching snakes and frogs. Poking animal carcasses, riding like the wind on my bike and in general being physically reckless and noisey were my pleasures. Nowadays they might say I had ADD but back then in the fifties and sixties the women seemed more concerned I would not find a husband….you could see the worry in their eyes and hear their whispers.
But I knew something they didn’t know. I knew how great it felt after exerting myself all day playing in the woods and bike paths. I would feel the glow of endorphins and the invigorating sting of my circulation returning to cold body parts. I basked in the memory of playing in the creeks, or discovering giant bugs. I felt strong and sustained by my time in nature.
It made me bolder and less conforming to spend my time intimately embedded in nature. Being in the natural world is really an immersion experience and I felt deeply connected to something far greater than myself. I also felt I had a place in this world. Somehow nature soothed that ADD edge and made it turn into a type of power I could channel.
I have been exploring Pachaug Forest for about three decades and I still feel as if the forest nurtures me and puts my nervous system right. I know my intimate relationship to all the elements of nature have wired in a type of strength that I want for modern kids. I think it is sad that electronic devices have replaced nature and progress is robbing that generation of their rightful solace and power. The benefits that come to those who commune with unsullied forests and open spaces are many.
I joined this effort to preserve Pachaug Forest for many reasons but uppermost among them is the desire to see boys and girls learn what it feels like to experience real power streaming through their legs. To delight in the caress of the breeze or feel anticipation and excitement in the wind is to become empowered. I want today’s children to know how embracing the forest is when you simply stop, lay down and soak it up. I want a direct connection to nature to be readily available to everyone. I have seen in my lifetime an enormous loss of the natural world and what we have left is worth fighting to preserve.