I BELONG

25 June 2019

            Today I walked to my little cove by the waterfall and hammock trees. Along the way there, I seemed to get caught in every single cobweb that was in the forest. I slid down a hill of mud and fell into the river, soaking what felt like my entire body. When I arrived at my destination, I sat and enjoyed the sights and sounds, smells and feels of the forest. It was a truly beautiful morning. I couldn’t however stop myself from itching my arms and legs that are seemingly covered in bug bites, from mosquitos to chiggers to wasps. I thought to myself how I really don’t belong here—that an entity that was meant to be in the forest would be evolutionarily advanced enough, or resilient enough, to not be bothered by cobwebs or wet socks or bug bites—that I was only kidding myself trying to be a part of the forest.

            But in reality, no life or entity is perfect. Everything has its strengths and everything has its flaws. Every being is a part in the continuous cycle of life and death, predator and prey. While I, for example, am prey to the mosquitos when they bite me, in a way I am predator to the spiders when I tear through their webs. Similarly, I may aid in pollination when I catch plant seeds on my body while moving around, yet I also may snap branches or pull leaves down along the way. Everything interacts in the forest, whether it be in a mutually beneficial or harmful or some other symbiotic relationship. I believe the fact that I am involved in this chain, even slightly, shows that I do belong and that I can have a space in this forest relationship as long as I respect it and respect myself. I may prey on some things while other things may prey on me, and it is okay as long as we share a mutual respect for each other and a mutual respect for life. 
Lauren Nicole Geiser

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