Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 9:40:44 PM
I was looking at the world from a bird’s eye view; I had a perspective like no other. My family and I were slowly rising with the sun on a tepid June morning in the peaceful Sedona desert of Arizona. I could feel the scolding bursts of fire warm my face as the pilot began to raise us into the sky; I was living my dream. I was riding in a hot air balloon.
The gold and red balloon reflected the warm Arizona rocks below, sporting an intricately woven mix of deep red, orange, and brown. Fitting together like pieces to a puzzle, these colors’s gently blended, reminding me of shades I had only previously seen on autumn trees back home in Pennsylvania; they were colors that could only be produced by nature. My heart skipped a few beats as I gawked at some of the most beautiful sights of my life, images that could neither be replicated nor replaced, sincere, unaltered pieces of nature.
Growing up, my family had always utilized what nature had to offer. Whether it was father-son hiking trips in the woods, family volleyball games in the backyard, or fishing in a nearby lake, we always appreciated the outdoors! However, it wasn’t until our gratifying trip to the Sedona desert that I had really, truly felt inspired by nature.
The hot air balloon had a sense of serenity about it; it was filled with silence and respect as all ten passengers stared at the majestic rock formations below – nature’s gifts to us, treasures that neither artist nor engineer could create. I personally, was amazed at the complexity of the canyons and grounds beneath us. I felt deeply inspired as I imagined the gradual transformation of the land that we were now smoothly gliding above; it made me feel empowered and allowed me to realize that anything is possible. If time and weather alone could sculpt these beautifully detailed and magically colored pieces of art, I could certainly do wonders, too.
After that day, while I was recounting the experience to my grandmother, she made a comment that truly hit home for me. She said, “It really is a gift to be able to appreciate nature for all it’s worth, not everyone has that ability.” This statement made me think for a minute; could it be true that not everyone could see the outdoors in the same light as I did? Then it dawned on me, the real “gift” isn’t being able to appreciate the outdoors, anyone can do that, but it’s having the opportunity to see it from a new view. The only way to motivate kids to go outside and make use of what nature has to offer is to first present them with the chance to see it from a different vantage point, the ability to give nature a new meaning. Edward Abbey put it best by saying, “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.”