By: Holly Pearson
In a kaleidoscope of memories of shoreline sunsets and farm animals I recall my time I spent living on an island for a few months. During this time, I consistently wrote in my journal during quiet moments when my world seemed so small yet adventures infinite. I delved into works of Henry David Thoreau and became invested in the environment and the hippie-esque island life. I realized the importance of journaling as a form of self medication and to record memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.
When I worked on a farm on Martha’s Vineyard over the summer, I felt my first true connection with nature, to quote Henry David Thoreau, I felt “like Atlas, to take the world on my shoulder.” Similar to his philosophy, I knew I would cultivate a passion among this specific area of land for the environmental conservation and care of animals. Although I knew this summer occupation of farming was fleeting, I allowed it to educate me on the importance of cultivating your own food, recycling waste and connecting with livestock. This act of farming changed me for the better and made me a more inquisitive person regarding wildlife, with a respect to these landscapes. One can learn copious amounts through watching a crop grow from a seed or the simple life of a sheep. I was a farm based educator, requiring me to lesson plan for children attending a summer camp on the farm. This inspired my writing from an educational standpoint as I had to create fun yet interaction lessons, requiring me to sharpen my writing skills. Being passionate about the topics I was writing about made it seem like a breeze.
Packing up my bags and sailing away from everything I knew on a ferry to an island I had never been to was the best decision I could have ever made for my writing. The very essence of becoming a privileged almost-nomad is what set my soul on fire, having only this piece of land disconnected from the mainland from whence I came to explore. It isn’t up for debate as to why so many writers cultivate on the Vineyard, as the environment itself speaks poetry. I explored beaches with salty water of the Vineyard Sound, Nantucket Sound and Atlantic Ocean. The Vineyard ocean experience breathed a sense of life into me that beaches on Cape Cod could not even do. I hiked the hills of Menemsha and the historic Brickyard beach, connecting with not only the ocean but the woods as well. I hiked through trails in the woods, wiping beads of perspiration from my forehead and straining my sore calf muscles. I would come to a clearing in the wood to an overlook of the beauty of the shoreline, refreshing my fatigued body with the healing water of the ocean. The contrast of the serenity of the woods and power of the ocean created a balance in me of finding peace in both environments. A piece of me will eternally remain on this island as a part of the Earth I gained the privilege to explore, falling in love with being alive while upon it. Before this experience, I would not have found purpose in the natural world surrounding human beings or the inspiration this gives toward my writing to this day.
Get out in nature and find your inspiration.
Holly Pearson is the Editor-in-Chief for The Comment