When people say the world is enormous, they are right, but it is the little things that matter, that make the earth so vast. It took one summer to show me the beauty of nature and what role I play in preserving it. One would think that at the age of thirteen that nature would not impact them so deeply especially when they are on a cross-country road trip with twenty-two other students, but I was.
In the summer of 2004, I embarked on a journey bigger then myself. I had no idea that the information I learned then would be so vitally important now. I was thirteen, just on the break of my awkward stage sporting the nerdy round framed glasses and matching wrist watch. I had no idea what I was in for. Twenty- two of my classmates and I crammed into two fifteen passenger vans accompanied by four teachers heading out west to visit the greatest American national parks and tourist attractions. For the first time I would be away from home for one month.
I sat right by the window, so I would be able to watch the American scenery as we drove by. I never understood how awe inspiring nature could be until I was standing on the ridge at Bryce Canyon. It is mind blowing to believe nature on its own created this, that us as humans could never match its natural beauty. I was so insignificant to this landmark, and nature for that matter.
My real epiphany occurred when I climbed Angels Landing in Zion National Park. It was an extremely rigorous hike up a steep slope. I pushed myself harder then ever to keep in pace with my hiking partners and to complete this challenge. As I reached the peak my breathe was taken away, I was currently viewing the most fantastic sunrise ever. I peered over the edge to see how high up I was. I felt so accomplished. Even today when I think about it I remember the freedom I felt blowing through my hair.
From that moment I needed to know everything about Angel’s Landing, how it was created and how long will it last. The perseverance I used to climb the steep paths I then transferred over to finding out about the peak and other beautiful natural monuments. My teacher began to explain to us about how, though we seem small and insignificant, that our decisions affect nature such as Angels Landing. In 2004, global warming was not a dire issue or widely talked about, at least not to me, but I was never again going to liter or let our countries mistakes ruin nature’s beauty.
My teacher then proceeded to teach us all the ways we could preserve and respect the environment. I had always had a fascination with nature and loved being outside, enjoying the fresh air. That one morning when I climbed the peak, I learned to appreciate nature, a vital lesson for all American citizens. If every citizen could find a way to love and understand nature, maybe they too could make changes to prevent the acceleration of global warming. I hope to go back to Angel’s Landing one day, but if American continues to be the leader in pollution admissions into the o-zone then my kids may never get to enjoy the beauty that so effortlessly took my breath away.
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