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        Humble for a Reason

        Peter Amend

        Nestled in the foothills below the majestic Sierra Nevada you'll find a city many people would dream to call their home town. Being the gateway to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and only hours from the ocean, you can experience the beach, hike a mountain and dine under a giant tree at the same day. Peter is one of the lucky ones born and raised here in Visalia and even if his youth was not very outdoor inspired, he now lives for and with the wilderness surrounding his home town. 

        Opening the lid of my Atle Stove and adjusting the power to high, I look around and realize how lucky we are. I watch the clouds move by and smell the Sequoia bark, damp from the high sierra thunderstorm that just rolled through. My two daughters are jumping in puddles, while my friends help me prepare a delicious lunch. We’ve been hiking through a favorite grove of giant tress,  and just parked up at one of my favorite Sequoia groves, where I’ve been visiting since I was young. And standing here, under one of these giant Sequoia trees, I realize just how small we really are. The thought of this tree being over 2000 years old – only a little baby tree when the pyramids of Egypt was built makes me feel incredibly humble in respect to the natural world. 

        It brings back memories to my first real immersion with nature, during a backpacking trip with the boy scouts. It rained the entire time and my sleeping pad was floating in the water as the river drained through my campsite. It was miserable, and would probably have pushed most people away, but there was something about that exact moment, the feeling of not being in control that pulled me back. That kind of thrill, being in nature and experiencing the wild, left me curious despite being scared. Like when diving into the ocean, where I have a very little control, getting hit by a wave or pulled by the swell, realizing just how small I am in comparison to everything around me, and it makes me feel overwhelming calm and humble. It takes away my pride, it takes away my sense of accomplishment and always seems to puts me in my place. 

        I think that many have forgotten to tune with their senses as they interact with nature less and less. Being able to stop for a second, learning to smell the different types of trees, observing the rays of light,  and encountering life in three dimensions instead of just visually, is so important and something that everyone should try to embrace. Let’s bring 'outside' back to being our default.

        Peter Amend

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