Suddenly I kick my foot against the little pine cone. I stop and look down, aware that I almost stepped on it. Had I not stopped, I would have tread on it and perhaps destroyed it. I stare at it for a while and at all the other pine cones around it. It’s then I realize this small movement of mine is important: it is proof that elements can be altered by humans in their own environment, if ever so slightly.
And while I know smaller objects in nature are more sensitive to abuse, it makes me wonder about the shift in the larger parts of nature that are altered. Do they easily adapt to a different and newer surrounding or do they just abandon themselves to their new fate? What if some parts of our natural environment are not resilient to change?
It is clear that they need my protection. They are delicate, fragile, and they deserve to be enjoyed with the least possible amount of external impact.
I continue walking in the woods and, somehow, I don’t want to touch anything now. The branches are calling me, though, to brush my fingers through them, as I do with my children’s hair. I resist but I end up reaching my arm towards one of the branches. I want to believe that If I’m there with them and silently breathing in the joy of their company, I am protecting them in a way. From stronger shifts, from more abuse, from an unfortunate outcome.
But I can’t do it alone. I have heard one person makes a difference but it is not true. I need more people to think like me, to feel the pine cone, the branches, and the woods are significant. It is our responsibility to respect and teach respect, to create awareness and inspire change.
Making a difference starts with a group of hopeful idealists. And with some pine cones too.