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  • Writer's pictureMosaic Forum


Updated: Jul 21, 2018

I grew up in New York City, surrounded by concrete, tenement buildings, and never-ending packs of people. When I think back, the only natural color against the drab background of my block stemmed from several widely spaced trees that lived along the curb. They received no attention. They were just there. No one gazed upon them and said, “What a beautiful tree.” They were anchored in graying dirt, surrounded by gray blocks, which offered them just a little bit of protection.

I often reflect on the place of significance that nature now holds in my life, and where my love of all things green was born. I think about those trees and wonder if they still stand. I wonder if anyone sees their beauty and marvels at their longevity. I wonder if somewhere in the little girl that was me, I noticed those things, and yearned for more.

I think I did. Some of my fondest childhood memories are packaged in green - I remember my mom taking me and my sisters to Central Park, finding the perfect place to lay our blanket where it was a little off the beaten path, but close enough to a sidewalk so that we could play double-dutch. I also remember Van Cortlandt Park and Bear Mountain, both retreats into another world that made your soul soar. I didn’t realize then, but visiting those spaces brought such comfort to me.

I remember Saturday mornings, driving to Yonkers to shop for food. My mom and brothers would go into the supermarket and my dad would keep the girls with him, get bear claws from the bakery, and then go to “our” tree which was always awaiting our arrival. It offered just the right amount of shade and we would sit underneath it. My father would chase us around it. We would eat bear claws. I never wanted to leave the quiet energy and overwhelming beauty of that tree…me and trees have a thing.

I find that in stressful moments, my escape is to a green-space. I want to connect. To feel at peace. To look at beauty. And there is no way that when I am in that moment, and surrounded by that beauty, that I can feel anything but loved, grounded and in awe of God’s work. The best therapy is free. The best therapy is connection to something bigger than yourself.

Let’s step into a peaceful place. Gaze upon emerald waters, hear the rush of a waterfall…In the coming weeks, I am going to present the Nature Chronicles. It will showcase different places you can explore, meet people unlike yourself, and find your zen. The journey will start at Yosemite National Park - The first piece of wisdom Yosemite imparted to me was that everything supports life, even a rock.

Until next time, be in peace… Jane

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