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

The Connection (By: Bryan Palacio)

The Connection I lay on my back in a grassy opening. As I look up, I can only see a dome of sky, sun, and canopy. I can hear the wind coming as it sweeps through the foliage and makes that unique Everglades sound of thick broad leaves rustling against each other. I close my eyes as the wind comes and take a deep breath. I can feel everything in my dome perspective swaying together. It is our first day out on field work and the connection in growing. I law on my back and stare at the stars. As I drift in and out of sleep, I keep an eye on Orion’s Belt, maneuvering its way across the sky. It is my first night ever sleeping under the stars. I think about how the connection I feel is the same experienced by our ancestors throughout history. It is the most beautiful sight I have ever experienced. It is night number one of our excursion and the connection continues to grow. I law on my back finally in my bed again. There are no more stars, only artificial lights twinkling from gadgets. I do not want my phone or TV. The anxiety and frustration with my first day back in the world is overbearing. It is my first night back from my trip, but the connection is not gone. In fact, it has never been stronger. The wilderness taught me how we learn through the most challenging experiences. And although it may be easier to live life on a canoe, my life is here. I did not leave the wildness behind. I brought it home with me.

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