How Memories Shaped Nature

When I was seven years old, I experienced something that started shaping my view on nature. My family and I spent the summer holidays in Germany on a camping site nearby a forest. One day, my mother and I went on a walk. We noticed a path overgrown with grass, so my mother wanted to see what it lead to. As soon as we stepped onto it, four wild boars passed along at the other end. A father, a mother, and two piglets. My mother and I froze. The father stopped and stared directly at us. It looked like he wanted to attack us. I was frightened. Fortunately, my mother knew what to do. Calmly she walked backwards and instructed me to do the same thing. My eyes were locked to the huge boar when I started moving away. Then, eventually, the animals started their path again as well. Since then, I always feel like nature is wild.

Throughout the years, this has not changed as I experienced this kind of nature again and again. Two recent memories are clear in my mind. Firstly, when I was seventeen. I went on an excursion to Iceland. One time, the weather was extremely unpredictable. It started out with sunshine, but during the day we had a storm with rain, hail, mist, and even snow. Therefore, I had to comply to what nature was doing. Sometimes I had to wear my rain jacket, other times a coat would suffice. Yet again I was out of control. The second memory is a year later. I was on vacation in Croatia, visiting a huge lake-area called Plitvice. There were several small streams of water everywhere. As I walked past one, I noticed a snake trying to eat a fish. The snake madly shook its head in order to get the fish into its mouth. At first I felt bad for the fish, but then I realised that this is the way nature works. Animals eat other animals, because of their physical needs. There is nothing anyone can do to change that.

However, nature is not only wild, uncontrollable and intimidating for me. It has much more to it. A few years ago I went on vacation to Austria with my parents. We drove over the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße, which offers passage to the highest mountain in Austria. The road itself is therefore up in the mountains as well, which was a fantastic experience. I still remember how amazing it felt to do that one cliché thing: while looking at the valleys and mountains, I spread my arms and faced the world. Breathing the cold air and staring at the sight I saw, made me feel like part of the whole. I had nothing to worry about. I was free to do what I wanted, free to explore, free to live.

That is what is so great about nature. It can be extremely frightening and uncontrollable, such as seven year old me experienced with the boar. Yet it can also offer a sense of freedom and connection, such as I felt atop of the mountain range.  Clearly, my memories shaped my ideas on nature. Memories are different for all, so how did yours shape your view on nature?


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