How do you feel while immersing yourself in nature? This Earth Day, the Keap team spent some collective time outside and we’re sharing our reflections on some of the things we discovered.
Spring has finally arrived and with the timing of vaccines for COVID-19 becoming more widely available in the U.S. it truly does feel like we are that much closer to collectively taking a big sigh of relief. As I peer out the window, each day the trees appear more green and the bird songs seem to come through a little stronger.
Tulips and daffodils abloom in Central Park
The spring season can often be a time of rebirth, rejuvenation, and cleansing. And it can also serve as a reminder to reflect and show gratitude to the supportive and generous natural world we inhabit. This spirit of appreciation led one Keapee, Sofia, to an idea for honoring Earth Day by spending time in nature together.
On Earth Day the Keap teams (in both Kingston and New York City) each took a nature walk, allowing us time out from the workday to connect with each other, and to contemplate the splendor of our local surroundings. Both teams brought gloves and trash bags, and walked amongst the trees picking up trash as a small but impactful gesture of conscious care.
In New York City, Stephen and Ali embraced the landscape of Central Park and all her beauty.
Stephen, Owner of Keap, and Ali, our Community Associate, with special guest Finley Giles 🥰 on their nature walk through Central Park.
Stephen described the experience beautifully by saying, “Walking through Central Park I was struck by the change in scale from the concrete streets into the wooded pathways...Being amongst the budding trees and flowers and traversing the prehistoric boulders, I felt a widening sense of self. A humble sense of belonging to the billion-year journey that led to this moment.”
The walk allowed us to be truly present with nature and each other. True to New York, we meandered along, stopping to notice the beauty around us both in nature and human activity. In a transcendent moment, an artist wielding a rope and soap bucket, created bubbles for onlookers to look upon in awe. The walk proved to be something we didn’t know we needed. A time to connect when we’ve often felt isolated; a time to give thanks to nature and take us on a journey outside our routine.
Transcendent blossoms and bubbles in Central Park
The team in Kingston had a plan to journey down a local rail trail near the candle-making studio, but quickly found themselves not traveling much further than a small pond right nearby. Seven bags of trash were collected around the pond itself.
Keapee Ashley said it best by noting, “We intended to walk the rail trail and cover a fair amount of ground in our neighborhood but we quickly realized just how much trash was in our own backyard...you don't have to travel far or execute a grand project to make an impact.”
The act of cleaning itself turned into quite an adventure with items like a doorknob and a fully intact mailbox being found in the nearby pond. It made the team think more broadly about the history of the place and what stories these items might hold. Though there were feelings of disappointment with how much trash was lying about, there was also appreciation for the perseverance of both native and invasive plant species, and the time that was spent outside as a team.
Here is the full Kingston team on their adventure behind the studio (From left to right: Philip, Ashley, Sea, and Sofia)
And here are some further reflections from the Kingston team to ponder:
“For me it was a good reminder of how long these things take to break down and how our mark as humans has a lasting impact. I was also impressed by how the plants have shaped and reclaimed this landscape.”
“I had two somewhat opposing feelings that I seesawed between during the walk - the activity itself is pretty peaceful and engaging. Slowing down my usual pace and observing my immediate surroundings closely, hunting for treasures and the satisfaction of finding surprising objects. I was also angry that people didn't think or take the time to be good stewards of the land we all share and our misalignment in prioritizing that value.”
“I really enjoyed feeling more connected to this little bit of water that we've had outside our door. I thoroughly enjoyed fishing random objects out of the water...With each new item being removed, I felt like I had contributed just that little bit to the well-being of the area.”
“True to form, I found myself picking up the tiniest pieces of trash...Those tiny pieces of plastic, disintegrating but never reintegrating back into the earth, and the larger pieces of plastic that I kept unearthing, buried in the dirt long ago - all reminders of how long our garbage sticks around, and how we need to make a complete shift and start thinking much more long-term about how we create and use materials.”
A stunning yellow bird magnolia in Central Park
I’m curious how you feel when you immerse yourself in nature? Our time brought us together and helped us see nature, ourselves, and our shared responsibilities from a different perspective. It’s beautiful to see that small acts of care can make us more grateful, more present, and more attuned to the preciousness of the natural world.
Wishing you time in nature,
— Ali from Keap