Nature – I'm in It… Probably
Michelle Parkington, Division 3, Graduate school #ws17e-s3d3

Nature surrounds me… in every direction, it's everywhere I am, I just have to take notice that nature is around me, every bit of my day. It's fresh and gorgeous when we notice it, and probably best before we influence it. And probably… we don't even notice that we're busy cleaning up our tracks through nature, or we need to be cleaning up after ourselves. From sun up to sun down, and in between, nature is there beside, under… and above us.

When I get up in the morning and brush my teeth, I use tap water that we likely filter, probably because we poisoned the ground where the fresh water is traveling to get to me. I let the dog out in the back yard to get a breath of fresh air and walk around in a lawn skillfully placed there by the builder and managed by me, probably because it was a forest before the builder bought the land. When I get ready for breakfast I might have a few eggs from a chicken, scrambled, with cheese from a cow, which we refrigerate, probably because we've killed off their natural enzymes and have an opinion that we must have food at our beck and call in a small electrical closet (fridge) in our kitchen.

I drive to work in a truck, probably because maintaining a horse is too much work (and a long commute on four legs) using fossil fuels that were naturally occurring, definitely until we got a hold of them. I drive a really beautiful path through trees and fields laden with tons of wildlife, including birds, possums, horses, goats, geese, squirrels etc., along the way; and, probably, I'm on a road because we'd otherwise track dirt everywhere, further pollute the land with dripping oil and coolant, and destroy a wider swath of nature than necessary for the commonly used route. I park in a lot in front of a building, probably because we've realized that gathering under a tree is not efficient or effective for the work we feel we must do. And I start my work day in a building filled with air conditioning, probably because we've grown too weak to withstand a Florida summer day, too far inland for a sea breeze, and now require a machine and chemicals instead of the periodic, natural swirl of cooling air.

I have the joy of flying a helicopter over land, probably because flying under the land is not possible, and flying on the land (helicopters have wheels too!) is called driving. Depending on where I fly in this country, I'll get to see the wildness of the untamed, natural landscape of mountains and plains, or maybe I'll survey a square-shaped checkerboard of farmed fields of white cotton that look like patches of snow on a warm fall day. Sometimes, I have the pleasure of smelling peanut butter, when it fills the cockpit as they harvest peanuts from the dusty fields below. While I feel like I'm above nature, I'm still part of it, surrounded by weather, which encompasses us, be it treacherously stormy or terrifically sunny. For just a moment, I'll make a helicopter-shaped shadow on the fields below, to help them cool in summer, or maybe my rotor wash just barely warms near-freezing crops in early spring, the mere two necessary degrees to keep fruit blossoms above frigid temperatures.

I land and refuel with processed fossil fuels, probably because you can't feed a helicopter carrots and oats. The next part of my day may be rescuing drowning adults, who decided the right thing to do was go sailing or swimming on a day that was too windy, probably because they didn't think first. I might zip down a highway tracking a car chase, or scout out people illegally growing plants in their back yard, probably ""for medicinal use"". I've worked fighting wild fires out West, flying heavy lift helicopters and moving up to 2600 gallons (imagine all that nature in a bucket!) in order to help the ground based U.S. Forest Service personnel to fight a wild fire or provide them a momentary respite from the heat and flames. Please, please, clear trees and bush far away from your homes if you live in the Wild, Wild West.

After a long day of work, I'll land, often on a paved surface partially to protect my machine, and partially to help slow the drainage of manmade fluids back into Mother Earth. I return to Terra Firma, where I'm immediately enveloped by nature. I'll get back in my truck, and do it all in reverse. I'll drive down the paved road, burning processed fossil fuels, to find my front yard where I left it, simply a grassy, square space located in front of my back yard's grassy, square space. It's there to greet me, probably in the condition I left it. I'll go inside, probably because I don't live in a cave, to find my happy dog who slept all day. I'll let her out to get a breath of fresh air and feed her, probably dry mixed with wet food that is ""on demand"" in a bag or a can. I'll find salad fixings in my garden, and instead whip up some pizza dough for a fresh margarita-like pizza using those homegrown ingredients of tomatoes, basil, green bell peppers, and garlic. I'll prepare to finish my day, and brush my teeth probably with a new ""fresh"" batch of processed ground, now tap, water. And then, I'll turn into bed, made of clean cotton sheets, probably processed from a field like one I flew over earlier that day. And I'll close my eyes for the night… so that I may dream about starting over again the next day, escorted by nature every step of the way.
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