Dark Ecology: Race, Gender & the Environment

English 252 @ Hunter College



The Most Magical Place on Earth

I’m going to start this off by saying, I don’t get out much. I’m not really one for leaving the comfort of my room, so I don’t have all that much experience with nature. If you asked me about video games, I’d be here all day talking. I digress. 

Last year, it was sometime in July, I believe, I went to Florida with my family. Now, this in and of itself doesn’t seem all that impressive, but the last time I had been to Florida I was, maybe, 11 years old or so. Pretty big jump from being a 23 year old. I remembered nothing from my previous journey, so this would be a whole new adventure, which excited me further than just the initial, “we’re going to Disneyland!” 

Our first real day at Mickey Mouse’s home was spent in Epcot, which is seriously one of the most impressive theme parks without any real rides. I’m sure you’re reading this and asking, “what does Epcot have to do with nature?” Well, not only is Epcot filled with cultural experiences, it also had many unexpected nature attractions.

Now, if you know me, you know I have a very short attention span. So, while my cousins argued over which country to visit first – Japan or Mexico – I was observing my surroundings. First off – huge place. You don’t know where to look first. I am particularly fond of animals, so I always look for water, because where there’s water, there’s birds. And birds lead to all kinds of little woodland creatures, and who better to foster woodland babies than Disney? 

There were tons and tons of ducks, and I watched them swim about, not paying any mind to the enormous amounts of people around them. It was quite beautiful, really. Imagine not caring about anything but the direction you’re heading in. 

Other than visiting Japan, watching the ducks was probably the highlight of the day for me. It made me wonder if anyone else had taken the time to even notice them. Had it only been me that cared enough to stop and watch them for a while? Probably not, but nature sometimes is a shared experience, and sometimes you just go it alone. I prefer to be by myself, but I feel that at a place as big as Epcot, or even Disneyland itself, even a solitary experience is shared with everyone around you. 

Sarah Lamonica 

Insights from Mother Nature

It was a breezy, Spring day. Roaming around with my lover amongst trees, birds and fresh air. We had been walking for the past 30 minutes and I felt my heart beat slowly increasing. We knew where we were going and we couldn’t wait to get there. The water fall at the Botanical Gardens. It had pretty much become our backyard. Our favorite place within the whole garden. We walked, we climbed, we laughed and we embraced. The fresh air kissed our face. By the time we made it, I felt a weight on my shoulders. A sense of heaviness… I was exhausted. It was about 10:30 in the morning and I hadn’t had any breakfast. Perhaps my energy was depleted. As I sat on the bench, admiring the water fall while observing the tree bunches move to the hidden waves of the wind,  I couldn’t tell what was wrong with me.

After a few minutes of subtle discomfort, my partner handed me a peeled tangerine. I began savoring a piece I had removed from the bunch. The flavors bursted in my mouth and in my body. My senses began to heighten and my vision became more clear. Life was being given to me in that moment. As I ate more, I felt myself becoming more alive through my mind, body and spirit. It’s a feeling that was truly unexplainable, however it made sense in every way. In that moment, I understood a truth I had never grasped before. The divine connection. The feedback loop of giving and receiving. The ubiquitous duality that resides in all things. I understood nature in a way I never had before. I felt alive, connected and exactly where I was supposed to be in that moment within the infinite universe. The chirping birds sang as I listened. They fed my ears and soul. All motion being experienced through my senses were pure bliss. I reflected, and as I did, I felt like an animal, in its natural habitat. Before the city, before the artificial noise, before the destruction. This was my home. And in that moment, there was nothing more important. The magical insight given to me, left me with intense awe. This was more than just a nourishing fruit, more than just sightseeing. This was life, youthfulness, joy and gratitude. I knew I was healing. Nature had kissed me with its Universal Intelligence and I was present to receive it.

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