Nature Embraces Us by Loon Sombounkhan

My name is Loon, I’m just a normal person like anybody else. I love nature like many other people in this world. My country Laos is full of forests with thousands of different species of animals and plants, so maybe that’s why I’m a nature lover. Now I am here in the United States, under the Global UGRAD Program. Since the first day I got here, there is one thing that has always stuck in my mind – that “I have to see the Redwoods”. Redwoods are gigantic trees both in height and size. They have a long life span of about 100-1000 years,  therefore it’s a must-see tree for nature lovers! I made a plan on spring break to journey to San Francisco, California to see them in person.

I captured the pictures above in the San Francisco Botanical Garden and the Muir Wood Reservation. The pictures really can tell the whole story. I was joyous and amazed by the sight of these Redwoods. I also did one of the common routines for nature lovers which is to hug a tree! Another feeling that I had during the walk into the Redwood Reservation was a feeling of embrace, a feeling of protection. Why did I feel that? It was raining during the walk, but we were hardly wet at all, the canopy of the Redwood was protecting us. This may sound childish at first, but if we look at the bigger picture, this “embracement of nature” makes more sense somehow.

Everybody knows how important trees are. The most well-known is that trees create oxygen which enables us to breathe and live, but is this the only thing that makes trees important to us? Trees also hold up the soil which prevent landslides, they play an important role in the water cycle, trees are habitats for animals, and they produce food which provides for almost all the life on Earth. See, that is how much nature embraces us, and it has been doing this for millions of years. Unfortunately, some people do not see this as important as they should. They cut trees down and destroy nature without any consciousness. A tree takes more than twenty years to grow to their tallest height, but it only takes five to ten minutes to cut it down by ax or chainsaw.

My thought is that we should put more effort in protecting nature. A little contribution from everyone could become an enormous impact overall. Imagine that every single person on Earth started to plant one tree each, that would be massive! Nature has been protecting us for a long time. Now it’s time for us to return the favor.

I felt the downpour of rain on me right after I left the forest. It made me realize the difference for when I am out of nature’s embraces.

Written by Loon Sombounkhan, Laos, a 2017-2018 Global UGRAD student at New Mexico Highlands University