Stará Ves, CZECH REPUBLIC – ‘I can’t wait for things to be normal again!’ or ‘When can we finally go back to the old ways?’ are phrases that most of us either hear or say on the daily since March.
But what if I told you that we cannot go back to the old ways? You might have led a comfortable life, but can you truly go back to it as if nothing happened?
As if, after locking ourselves up, the news didn’t announce improvements of cleaner waters and less air pollution?
The solution now of course isn’t staying inside forever – it’s the opposite. It’s time to become more self aware and mindful.
I can’t help but think that this pandemic – this whole year – is supposed to be a wake-up call for humanity.
I was lucky enough to spend the whole of quarantine at my parents’ cottage in the mountains.
At first, it felt like a nightmare. We were surrounded by fields, forests and mountains and we didn’t know how long we would be there.
But what I dreaded most was the limited wifi, which kept me from talking to my friends or being on my phone most of the time.
But after a month in quarantine I turned my phone off completely and put it away. If it was not for online school, I would’ve fully disconnected myself willingly.
I was never a nature-loving person. My family is very sporty and outdoorsy, though, so I spent a lot of time in nature without ever particularly enjoying it.
Since our cottage is almost in the middle of nowhere, we had the privilege of being able to go outside.
It was only after we went back to our house in the city that I realized how I’d changed.
I suddenly became miserable from the lack of greenery, calmness and freedom.
I soon realized that even when I sought nature out in the city, it didn’t feel the same way. It wasn’t only the beautiful scenery that I missed, but also the simple joyful moments and how calm nature made me feel.
I missed walking barefoot and picking flowers, feeling the wind on my skin and – instead of worrying that it would ruin my hair – running towards its arms because it made me feel the freest I’ve ever been.
I missed swimming and drinking from the stream and feeling the most alive after getting out of the freezing water to snuggle with our dog by the fireplace.
I yearned for the days of waking up early and see not only the sun rise from behind the mountain but also the moon set and hide behind the forest. I missed spotting deer and wild rabbits from our kitchen window.
And I missed watching the sunset everyday with my family, lighting candles and baking with my mum and making tea on the stove because there is no kettle at our cottage.
The day we were leaving I told my mum that I wished I could be one of the does we’d been seeing so that I could stay there forever and only come out when my family comes back.
So after thinking my whole life that money and fame were the things I had to achieve in life in order to be happy, I realized that the only thing I need is nature.
Everything we own is borrowed. It was most likely here before us and it will be here after we are gone.
Nature is a part of our world, but most importantly, we are a part of nature. And I have never felt like I belong somewhere more than I did after realizing the importance of nature.
Nature will always calm, comfort, and listen to you under one condition – you have to do the same for her.
Viktorie Goldmannová is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.