Alone With Nature - True Kindness



Alone With Nature

The feeling of being alone in nature could be relaxing and terrifying. While on my way to find a place to sit, I loved feeling the wind blow through my hair. The cold weather made me think of  hot coffee to keep my body warm. As I sat down on the bench at the park named Lake Isabella where it is located in Hamilton county, I could hear the waves crashing on the lake shore. It was a quiet day due to the pandemic. Most people would prefer to stay at home instead of being outside. While sitting in a quiet place alone, I enjoyed watching the ducks swimming on the water which made me feel I was not alone here. I then talked to myself silently, “I wish I was stress free like you guys, Duckies. Your life looks peaceful and happy. You always have time for your loved ones. You have more freedom than us human beings.” As human beings, we may have moral understanding and knowledge, but at the same time, we also have more stress than other species. 

Even though I was a little scared of being alone in the woods, I felt relaxed and my stress had faded away. My mind was feeling empty and at peace. It’s been a long time ever since the Covid-19 started, I haven’t had that kind of peace in mind. I often felt stress and anxiety. With everything going on in our lives these days, it could be challenging to stay positive. Since adult life has many responsibilities to take care of. As a college student, I sometimes felt overwhelmed because I have to study, work, and take care of my family. Once in a while, I do need space from everything in order to gain inner peace. Yet, being surrounded by people could keep us company but at the same time it could distract our mind as well. In life, we sometimes do not have choices to choose from. As a new online small business owner, I have to deal with every customer. Some were nice and understandable. Some were rude and difficult to handle. No matter how the customers treated us, we would always try to keep the positive attitude and make them happy in order to get the problems solved. This got me thinking, “Is this something I enjoy doing in life?”. If I quit, that means I am going to be a failure. After some back and forth thinking, I decided to continue to keep my business going. 

Nevertheless, after sitting awhile feeling the fresh air, hearing the sound of the wind, and seeing the beauty of nature, I almost fell asleep. But then, I tried to keep my eyes open to see what was going on around me. Once the ducks had left, I thought I was alone now. Fortunately, there were some other people from the other side of the lake who were fishing. This brought me back to my childhood memory where I used to go fishing with my friends in my homeland, Kampuchea Krom. Back in the old days, in our village, we barely had access to electricity or technology. Due to poverty, kids in my village could not afford to buy toys. If we were bored, my friends and I would make our toys out of mud and other outdoor activities. This might sound sad, but these activities brought people together. We had a lot of fun and were always active. Until technology took over, outdoor activities were not the first priority for kids if they were bored. They would start playing games online. Yet, everything has advantages and disadvantages to it. Some online games may be beneficial for kids and some cause both physical and mental health for children. So, it is important to have a healthy mind and body. That’s why kids in 90s had the best childhood memories. 

As I continued looking at everything around me, there were many past memories popped up in my mind. The nature and lake made me feel like I was missing my homeland and my family there. I miss the time I spent with my beloved grandparents, who lived in Kampuchea Krom and had passed away for eight years now. I thought to myself, “when will I be able to meet them again?”. When my grandparents passed away, I did not have a chance to attend their funeral. The year they left this world was the year my family was facing financial problems. By that time, we lived in the United States only for four years while we were still making progress in life. Even though we wanted to visit the homeland, unfortunately, we were not able to afford the airplane tickets. What hurts most was when I saw my dad’s pain and tears for not being able to see his parents on their last breath. Although I also wanted to go see my grandparents, at that time my dad was the person who needed to attend his parents’ funeral since they were my dad’s biological parents. I did feel regret and sadness for not having the opportunity to say goodbye to my grandparents one last time. When I look back to my life, I think the saddest part in life is once we have the money and can visit our loved ones anytime, but the people we love are no longer here. 

This brought me to another random mind pop that I had while sitting and staring at the river, which was about life. I asked myself, “what is life? What is our purpose here?”. I am in my mid-twenty and still searching for the answers for my life. Some nights, I could not sleep and my mind ended up generating questions about life purpose. I often questioned myself in the middle of the night, “ What exactly do I want in this lifetime? What God has plans for my life? What makes me happy?” I thought I would never answer these questions. Fortunately, the time I was alone with nature, I did find myself able to answer all my questions. I was relieved and happy to figure out what I want in life which I would choose a happy path. Sometimes, the noise of the world makes us forget who we are and being our true self. Growing up in an Asian family it’s a blessing, but at the same time, it’s hard to make your own decision since we have to follow the rules. Most people care more about success than happiness. As for myself, happiness comes first and success comes after. The thoughts that I had while sitting alone peacefully in the forest was to have a simple life. Yet, I would still try my best and hardest to achieve my life’s goals. Once it’s succeeded, I would be more than happy to live in a simple and quiet place in nature. In order to live a life that our heart desires, we first need to ignore negativities. The fear that we have will prevent us from doing anything. Living our lives to the fullest is the key to our happiness. 

After the sky was slowly getting dark, I looked up at the sky and saw the airplane flying. I also saw the people from the other side of the river were walking close by. I knew it was about time for me to leave the park. But then, I decided to stay until everyone left the park first. After no one’s around, I said goodbye to the place I sat. While on my way walking to the parking spot, I said to myself once again, “Life would be stressful again after I leave this place”, which no one would want to experience. Until then, I left the park with a happy and peaceful mind.

Written By: Diem Lam