Flashback to four years ago when I decided I wanted to be an environmentalist – all because of a little trip to Yosemite National Park.
No, this blog post isn’t my typical eco-friendly and slightly optimistic rant; rather, it’s more of an obscure nugget about the author…me. But I figured, as the Rim fire inches closer and closer to Yosemite, I should pay tribute to my endangered environmental motherland and try writing something a little different.
I was a senior in high school and my only experience with “roughing it” was sleeping in a tent in the backyard. Don’t get me wrong, I had always liked being outside, but I elected to take an environmental science class to see the outdoors, to learn what it was I had been missing. That’s what brought me to Yosemite; a week of camping and hiking, of learning and being outside my comfort zone. One week is all it took. Actually, one moment is all it took. There I was, standing on the valley floor, surrounded by El Cap and Half Dome and the falls…
To some, the valley blocks out the rest of the world, but to me it was more than that. It was as if Yosemite had swallowed me whole. This sense of awe coursed through my veins, an overwhelming feeling of being consumed by nature. I had never felt anything like that before.
Here was this geographic masterpiece, so bold and so big that it could change my sense of being in an instant…and yet still so vulnerable. In that moment Mother Nature thrust perspective in my direction, but she also awarded me with a certain sense of responsibility. I’m not just talking about protecting the Ansel Adams, John Muir hotspot from the current blaze; I mean something so much bigger than that.
At the time I was considering being a journalist because I wanted to give a voice to the voiceless. My trip to Yosemite let me know just whose stories I was supposed to help tell. And so began my employment by Mother Nature.