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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey


Dec 30, 2021 04:15PM ● By Jared Zornitzer

Nature is always right there by our side—outside the window, beyond the roof, through the television screen—but our daily lives often make it feel otherwise. For me, being busy with school and extracurricular activities causes me to lose touch with the outdoors because I simply do not have as much time as I would like to be outside. However, nature has a special way of sending subtle reminders that it is there waiting for us to appreciate it. These moments ground us, reignite our purpose and remind us of why we are in the fight of challenges we face.

This year’s first snowfall was my moment of revelation. I was walking home from class during a small flurry. For some reason, I could not stop smiling during that walk. I felt the euphoria of a child playing in the snow. All at once, my worrisome thoughts about homework and exams disappeared. I paused and observed the beauty of snowflakes drifting through the air and reveled in the immense sense of warmth and joy that I felt in contrast to the cold night. 

I receive other messages from nature, too. I have a constant calling to the world’s hiking trails, especially the Appalachian Trail. I often think about how much I would rather be out hiking the AT than being in school, but I know that it will be in the same place waiting for me to thru-hike it in three years. This provides me with a drive to do well in school; it is what is most important right now, and my hard work will allow me to pursue my true passion in the future.

No matter where we are in this world, we are all bound together by nature. It is accessible to everyone. An example of this human-nature relationship which I think about frequently is trees. Look at any big tree near your house. Think about how long it has been there; it could be hundreds of years old. Through all that time it hasn’t moved once. Humans’ presence around it has surely evolved, but the tree remains constant. Let this calming thought be a symbol of those things in life that are permanently there. One may be in the trough of an obstacle at the moment but, like the tree, you will endure and achieve a state of peacefulness in the end.

Jared Zornitzer is a full-time college student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY studying engineering. An advocate of balancing work and school with exercise and healthy living, he loves hiking, biking, running, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and learning in his classes.