Nur was one of our first KCC reporters. Her story, ‘My Favourite Place‘ was written after Nur read, ‘Our Favourite Place’ in our Winter issue of Wild Things back in 2015. Now 15, and like many teens, Nur knows how important nature is for her own well being and happiness, especially when tackling everything that school and teen-life has to offer and if we don’t look after it, not only will our wildlife be threatened but so will our health.
My house is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Native and introduced trees grow alongside each other in perfect harmony, a celebration of sunlight tinted greens beneath a brilliant blue sky. In spring, the garden is a fragrant rainbow of beautiful flowers. In summer, an abundance of fruit. In autumn, a fiery explosion of brilliant reds, oranges and yellows, first on the tree, and later on the ground. Winter might be expected to be cold, bare and lifeless, but alongside the skeletal branches of the introduced trees, reaching up to the sky like a homeless person begging for food, the evergreen native trees continue to flourish, keeping the garden alive.
Fantails, Tui, Kereru and many other birds love to visit the garden, to flitter among the branches, suckle on the sweet nectar of native flowers or feel around behind rocks and under bushes for fat bugs and juicy worms to eat. They sit in the branches and call to one another, their crystal clear songs ringing through the air. Hidden within the garden is the stream, its water dark and clear, tumbling over rocks on its way to the sea. Across the stream, hills carry on into the distance, covered in dark, tangled forest.
If you follow the stream downhill, going the way the current takes you,you will eventually reach the beach. The shore is scattered with tiny pebbles which hurt your feet when you step on them. As you move away from the road, they begin to grow in size, until you reach the huge, wet, barnacle encrusted rocks at the edge of the sea. The tide moves in and out, washing over the rocks and gently lapping the shore. The sea stretches in all directions, like a carpet of soft grey- blue, eternally calm and peaceful. Far away in the distance, another world waits on the horizon.
Sit back and look out across the sea. Feel the presence, the deep peace, the absolute tranquility. Let this feeling wash over you, let it leave you in wonder at the miracle of being here, right now, in this beautiful moment. Where else could you feel this, besides the beach? You feel it in the forests, by the riverbanks and lake-sides. You can feel it high in the mountains and down in the valleys, in wetland and grasslands, in parks and grasslands, in deserts and deep in the caves. In short, you feel it in nature. You couldn’t feel it anywhere else. Would you trade this feeling for anything?
As strange as it may seem. many people have. They have forgotten the presence of nature, which they can always come back to when they need it, and turned to other, temporary things, which they think will bring them happiness. Nature is being destroyed at an alarming rate in favour of money. But money does not last. It does not bring happiness. The only true happiness comes from nature. And if we continue in the way we are going now, then soon there will be nothing left. We need to stop in our tracks and realise what we are doing to the Earth. Only when we begin to repair our damage, and vow never to treat our home like this again, will we find true happiness, and true peace.