A bliss moment in nature

Julia Schulman

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If you asked me on October 7th what I thought of the world and my physical state, I’d say I was in my own personal hell. I’d say I would never in a million years go hiking again, and the last thing I would want to do was sleep in a tent. All I wanted to do was go home. I was stranded in Chapada dos Veadeiros, located in Alto do Paraíso Goías, about three hours from Brasília, the country’s capital. Now, I believe that when I selected this trip I simply chose to ignore the fact that we’d walk 37 kilometers in three days. Not only was it 37 kilometers, but it’s mainly up and down a mountain. To some, downhill may seem easier than uphill, however everyone has their limits and I reached mine. Walking for about three hours on a never-ending steep slope is a type of downhill I’d never imagine would be hard. My body was in pain, muscles I never even knew existed in my body were sore and the heat was unbearable. However, the moment that changed my perspective on everything I thought about nature and hiking occurred when we were an hour away from our camp site.

A small sudden realization took place during this trip: I’m not much of a nature girl. In fact, I remember my friend and I precisely repeating these words: “we’re city girls, we’re not made for nature.” Due to our obnoxious selves and our lack of stamina we’d constantly stop to take a breath and drink some water. As we were climbing the side of a mountain, and when I mean side, I mean the tip of the side, if I took one step to the right I’d fall down a never-ending hill of leaves, trees and rocks.

As we walked along a narrow road on the mountain I looked around. All I saw was the mountain we were on and the mountain next to it. Suddenly the tour guides brought us to a cliff where during rain season was supposed to be a waterfall, but since everything was so dry it was merely rocks.

Some friends sat next to me and all I did was stare. I gazed at the mountain ahead, I looked down and saw horses, cows, pigs and small, bricked houses. I looked up and saw the clearest and bluest sky I’d seen in years, not a cloud in sight and no grey pollution marks. I looked around and saw trees, leaves, rocks and then I looked down on the rock where I was sitting. I saw this ant about the size of my fingernail carrying a plant twice it’s size. I watched it crawl and maneuver around our feet and in that very moment I noticed how incredible nature was.

There I was, in the middle of nowhere sitting on a rock, observing an ant. I didn’t need my phone, my computer, or internet connection because I was at peace with nature. I thought of all the cells that came together to form such a beautiful view. Then, I realized that I, like the small ant, am so small compared to the world. Small but important. Just as the ant is responsible for bringing food to its anthill, so am I responsible for being an ethical citizen and caring for the world. It simply amazed me how a single, brief moment made the 10 km worth it.

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