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Vices & Virtues-8/24/16

*Ethan new

By Ethan Van Sice


You’re walking alone down a wooded path. Fallen leaves are rustling beneath your feet. Pine trees are swaying metronomically above your head.

Sprawling branches form a watchful canopy. Their limbs stretch infinitly, like a multi-dimensional timeline, cultivated by the stories and memories they’ve seen.

The wind blows harmonically through their wooded chimes, whispering in your ear, guiding you along. Suddenly you don’t feel so alone. The birds provide a soundtrack, looping a welcoming melody for you as long as you wish to stay.

Have you ever seen colors so vibrant? Textures so detailed? Patterns so mysteriously spontaneous, yet so perfectly organized all at the same time?

Oh the great outdoors; there’s simply nothing like it.

There’s no man on Earth who can take credit for the beauty and wonderment of nature. It’s the only form of the word “natural” that isn’t open to interpretation. In fact, anything outside of geology and wildlife should be accurately considered “unnatural”.

Headed into a job interview, you’re told to “act natural”, an impossible feat in it’s literal sense; That is, unless your able to sprout flowers on your head…

We may pride ourselves on planning a natural, or traditional wedding, but the only true, natural marriage is between us, and the grounds we walk on. The only “natural” conversations don’t arise from civil encounters with family members, rather they coalesce through the open air, behind the scenes. Most of those conversations go unnoticed, serving their own immaculate purpose, without uttering a single word.

The bond between mankind and nature is one that cannot be neglected. As intimate as our experiences may be, we must remember that we’re not united with nature symbiotically.

Nature does not need us…

The trees will grow. The flowers will bloom. The soil will continue to provide nutrients. Birds will sing and waters will stream. Life will go on for as long as we’re here, and long after we’re gone, just as it did long before we came.

But the human man, he needs nature. He cannot live without it. He needs it for food, he needs it for luminance, he needs it for hydration. He needs it the very second his own life begins. Without nature, he wouldn’t be able to take one, single, lasting breath…

Just as importantly, he needs it for his heart. He needs it for his mind. He needs it for his soul. You see the definition of “life” involves more than flesh and blood existence. There’s another, crucial ingredient. Without this world’s ethereal influence, without its calming atmosphere, its therapy, its meditative sphere, the term “life” would be incomplete.

The man needs an opportunity to become one with nature. He needs the motivation to get out there. He needs the time; And he needs the venue… Funny thing about nature; a venue has already been provided. The territory may be limited due to our own industrialization, but thankfully, sometimes certain areas are sanctioned for outdoor enjoyment.

Something has to be set aside; that’s on us. That’s on a conglomeration of us, actually. That takes a group effort. Maintaining a natural haven– a State Park, for example–that’s on us.

Fortunately, it’s now in us.

I mean, literally inside of us. Inside Wilcox County.

In 5 more days, through our own collective efforts, Roland Cooper State Park will finally be re-opened to the public. So pat yourselves on the back Wilcox! I’ve seen you guys out there, chipping away at paint, sweeping sidewalks, pressure washing buildings. I’ve seen you gathering limbs, pulling weeds, mowing grass. I’ve seen you doing your part, voluntarily giving a little love back. You’ve given that park the unconditional love that any healthy, functioning, natural partnership requires. And come September 1st, Roland Cooper is gonna love you right back. I guarantee it.

A most adorable rekindling will be taking place.

Finally, after all this time. Reunited. And it feels so good.

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