In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, Everglades National Park and its partners proudly hosted the Everglades Wilderness Writing Expedition! This program engaged 10 aspiring writers and journalists, ages 18-25, on an exploration of wilderness, self-discovery and environmental writing. These aspiring writers embarked on the journey of a lifetime to discover the beauty and complexity of the Everglades wilderness.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
A Letter to Future Wilderness Explorers (By Alexandra Mosquera)
Dear Future Everglades Enthusiast, You might not understand all of the things I will tell you, you might even consider the thought of me being silly. However, I will try to draw you a picture with my words of what I saw, what I felt and what I learned. What I experienced throughout a whole month in different parts of the Everglades, I dare to say that few have and only few will. Not only did the wilderness show me its beauty, it challenged me. The wilderness took away my craving for my everyday organized chaos, yet it gave me valuable lessons. It gave me friendship, love, simplicity, ability to build something with my hands, a different view on writing and the opportunity to fall asleep to a blanket of stars. I learned about star constellations and I let the waves guide my body, my mind, my heart. When I first experienced a cramp in my arm, the wind hitting my face, my friends struggling just like me, and I saw birds flying around and fighting the wind, just like we did, I knew we were all connected. The water, the wind, the sun, the animals, the mangroves, the canoes, the paddles, our thoughts, our pain, the will to get through it, and finally, the serenity when we got to our daily destinations. You might not feel the connection right away, but give it time, give it a chance. You will fall in love with it. I promise you this, you will always be able to fall back into the open arms of the wilderness. You will feel home in the middle of the waterways, surrounded by nature, being center of the infinity of stars above you, you will close your eyes and absorb the sounds of fishes jumping out of the water, leaves moving around in the trees creating the most beautiful music you will hear at night. Everything you do will be amplified. A noise far away might feel as if it just took place an inch away from you. Each word will have more meaning than you ever expected because of how focused you are on it, without any of the distractions you usually. Any bite of food you have, will make you smile and it will make you feel grateful. You will find time to think, to reflect on what you never had time for. You will be sore and you will be proud of that. You will use parts of your body that you barely use. You will develop patience, endless patience, to a level that you never expected. You will fall asleep so quickly because you will be so excited about the next days’ adventure. I can tell you how green the leaves were, how salty the water was, how the wilderness lets you have a sneak peak of the little things you won’t find even on the best picture or video, but you will still have to go an experience it yourself. I am proud to be an Everglades National Park Ambassador. I am proud to be part of this Everglades Wilderness Writing Expedition. I am proud to have been a witness of the beauty and charm of the Everglades. You will see that everything I told you can and will come true. To go to the Everglades was a dream that not even I knew I had, it came true and what I dream of now, is to preserve the wilderness I fell in love with. Yours truly, A.M.N.