Daria looked back up the 2 mile trail she just descended and was convinced she could not make it. Before she had even taken one step her breaths shortened, her body slung forward, and she was visibly worried and feeling anxious. Daria is a good student who likes to write and move around, but who does not get enough space to do so or exercise. She is smart and funny, but doesn’t have confidence when it comes to physical activities. Each step was a hardship often accompanied by “I can’t go on another step.’ And yet she managed to eak out just one more. When we neared the top of the trail head she looked back over the valley and asked, “Did we just come from there?” Did I just climb a mountain?” “I’ll need better shoes next time.” “...I’ve never been to Disneyland or Knotts Berry Farm, and I’ve never been to a mountain.” I like mountains!”
Daria, like eleven year olds everywhere, are the future of this country and world. Integral to her own success is the success we have with mitigating loss and harm to nature. Daria learned a lot about herself that day on the trail, as did her peers, and she also made a connection to the wyld that could do more than just benefit her physically and mentally, but can also benefit all of us for generations to come. In order to understand nature and ourselves, we need a connection with mother earth, and ourselves.
*Names were changed to protect identities