The outdoors is something I think people take for granted — but with the pandemic happening for over a year now, people are appreciating nature more.
When I was a kid, I would go into the woods behind my house, explore and make the occasional mud pie. I would come back into the house with dirt all over me, and all I wanted to do was go back outside.
I have always enjoyed the outdoors. That deteriorated a bit when I became an early teen and I thought being outside was not cool.
As I got to college, I started to enjoy the outdoors again, especially in the last year when we all were forced inside. Walking my dog with my parents became a pastime, as being outdoors was one of the only options of getting out of the house at the time.
I enjoy a good picnic with my friends. I enjoy going to Old Main lawn just to destress a bit.
The majority of this summer I spent outdoors because there was not much to do indoors. Swimming, hiking, biking and picnicking became my best friends last summer, and such activities distracted me from the mess of a world we were living in.
I remember in high school how much my junior year English teacher praised Henry David Thoreau. I think back on that a lot because of how much Thoreau appreciated nature and all its beauties through his writing.
I have a grander sense of how important nature is to me — not as much as Thoreau, but to the point where it can be a sense of balance for me and for people who need it.
I appreciate nature even more being at Penn State and being in the middle of the mountains.
You never know what the weather will do up here, but being in a place where nature is a big part of the school, it makes being here and living through a pandemic much more worthwhile.
I feel happier on days when it is sunny and I get to go outside. I can think and feel better when I am walking in the fresh air.
I have gained a greater appreciation for the outdoors now with this pandemic, because being outside is the only sense of freedom we have.
It is a way of escaping the realities of how horrible the past year has been, and has provided me a refuge from everything going on in my life.
Whether it be with a friend, a pet or just by yourself, I encourage you to get outside and appreciate the Earth for what it is.