People often ask me why I am called to do what I do and the first thing that comes to mind is that I love being in Nature. This is a story of why I am inspired and passionate about sharing my love for Nature with others- in hopes that they too can experience the feeling that shaped an integral part of who I am and what I do.
When I was about five years old my family and I immigrated to the United States from Montevideo, Uruguay. As an immigrant child in a foreign land, with a foreign language, I often felt that I didn’t belong. I remember starting kindergarten, and then came first grade, and as time progressed the feeling of not belonging grew. It only took 1 or 2 difficult experiences, such as being put outside of the classroom for talking or not being picked for a group activity, for my little sensitive self to solidify erroneous beliefs of inferiority.
At home after school was a different story. I grew up in a multigenerational home, with my mom, brother, grandparents, and sometimes even great-grandmother. A tree-lined neighborhood near downtown Atlanta with old broken sidewalks, massive oak trees, and big brick houses with spacious yards. Although our house off Argonne Ave was dilapidated with a sinking floor shifted to one side and lawn furniture as inside furnishings, I adored that house, although I will admit, it was a little spooky at night. Our house was less than ten blocks from Piedmont Park, a 185-acre urban forest sanctuary that made a strong impact on my core beliefs, intrinsic values and in the end, my calling.
It wasn’t only Piedmont Park that sparked my love for Nature, it was the entire neighborhood. I explored every nook and cranny of those lush side streets and grassy back alleys; climbed the trees, and found the creeks to wade in. Daily walks with my grandfather were sacred to me and looking back now I glean so much wisdom from those moments. He taught me how to track storms according to the sounds of nature, how to simply be with Pachamama- Gaia and how that, in and of itself, was joyful and restoring, and so much more.
There, in Nature, in the urban forest that was my home, I felt an innate sense of belonging that no one could take away. I recently learned that Argonne translates to “a woody region”, and this makes so much sense in such a deep way; it was a magical place and always will be. Another realization that I've been thinking about lately is that you don't have to be hiking the Rockies or the Andes in fancy gear to have a deep and meaningful connection to Mother Earth; that kinship can be cultivated right in your back yard or local park. All that's required is attention and intention, curiosity or even a yearning to remember that you too are, in fact, nature.
My calling is to be a conduit between a sense of disconnection and remembrance; a channel and Guide in recalling your innate connection to Nature. I am here to activate your sovereignty, your voice, your power, with the knowledge that when you live in gratitude and reciprocity with Nature, you innately belong wherever you stand.
Excerpt from Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
“Being naturalized to place means to live as if this is the land that feeds you, as if these are streams from which you drink, that build your body and fill your spirit. To become naturalized is to know that your ancestors lie in this ground. Here you will give your gifts and meet your responsibilities. To become naturalized is to live as if your children’s future matters, to take care of the land as if our lives and the lives of all our relatives depend on it. Because they do.”