I’m the type to suppress my pain and let it build up until I explode. It’s definitely not the healthiest method. In the case of environmental degradation, I tend to avoid thinking about it too much. Sometimes a video or some other call to action will inspire me to look the world’s pain in the eye for a brief, brave moment. Then, its gone and I forget until another flash of inspiration strikes. I always wonder why this feeling is so hard to hold, but, if I’m being honest, it’s because I feel helpless. If I watch a documentary about a group of people traveling around the world and distributing self-purifying water bottles to communities in need, I get the inspired feeling that I can do something, but it fades because I quickly realize I can’t go and do something big like that. Everything I can do is small and seemingly unimportant, like putting a little band-aid on a wound that obviously needs stitches. So, naturally, instead of attempting something, I do nothing. It’s a terrible system, and one I don’t usually think about. This reading activity and the walk forced me to look at everything I avoid so subconsciously and think on what I can start doing. For example, my family has a “recycling” bin. The thing is, we really don’t know how/ try to recycle properly, even though it is entirely within our power. Instead, we use this bin as a garbage can because it’s easier to access than the actual garbage can. We can easily start recycling properly and I should be happy to be doing something, even if it is small.
On my walk, I just breathed in the smells of the flowers and appreciated the shade of the trees. I liked the quiet, and the familiar hum of traffic filling in as white noise, but then I thought about how intrusive the sound of traffic really is, and how much more peaceful my walk would be without it. But this is something I can’t change, so I breathed it in and let it go. For my cairn, I saw a little blue flower in the grass. I didn’t pick it, even though the point of the activity is to bring my object somewhere. I had the location of the cairn picked out, but I didn’t pick that flower. I couldn’t do it because the thing I think it represents being lost in the world is nature’s independence. This little blue flower was growing in the grass, and probably a weed, but it had grown there on its own. We tend to take nature and cultivate it to our needs and wants. All our wild places are disappearing because we think we own everything and selfishly assume we are all that matters. My flower is just trying to exist until the lawnmower chops it down, so I left it because I had no reason to pick it beyond the symbolic gesture of honoring my pain.