Nature as Beauty

by Handsome Matt

Sometimes it’s important to remember what one is fighting for. It’s easy to get caught up in the struggle, to focus on the goal and forget about why.

For myself, I remember camping. Tromping through the woods, building make shift dams, getting wet, muddy and disgusting, sailing boats in the rain, splashing through puddles. Climbing trees, cliffs, mountains, and generally misbehaving in the woods.

When I was eleven, my parents, my aunt and uncle, and my cousins all took a trip to the Great Smokey Mountains. We hiked a portion of the AT and stayed out overnight. My day consisted of crossing rivers barefooted and hiking up and down. That night, I woke up in time to watch, what my eleven year old mind thought, was the largest black bear in existence snuffle through our campsite looking for food. Being twelve feet from a Guinness Record holding black bear is quite an experience for an eleven year old.

As I’ve grown up, I have come to see that those experiences are on going, and have started to occur much closer to home. Frost shining in the light of dawn, flowers blooming in the afternoon, fireflies floating in the evenings. I always know it’s Summer when I hear the cicadas on blazing hot afternoons in August. These are magical moments, almost spiritual in that; I am struck by the wonder and beauty of the world around me.

And it is my profound belief that humanity’s march of progress can work within the bounds of natural beauty without destroying it.

If you will permit me, these are some photographs of the world around me that struck me as beautiful. And today remind me of what I am fighting for.