Nature can help you reconnect with what’s really important

Commentary by Chelsey Fattal
Times-News correspondent

   One of the most enjoyable gifts to oneself, is choosing to take a journey. To go in solitude, a young lady such as myself finds the necessity in retiring from society and being in the company of nature — God’s creation. I am never less alone than when alone and, when alone, I think of those not present. On this day in particular, I think about my childhood friend, Kristi. Sadness creeps upon my heart because she had been taken too early, or so I had thought.
Continuing down the unsteady trail on a Saturday afternoon, my lack of coordination became blatant as I found myself tripping over twigs on the path and noticing that my shoe was stuck in a conglomeration of mud and forest debris; however, I ignored my foot and began to think about Kristi.
   As I journeyed deeper into the Blue Ridge Mountains of Boone, I remember two lives intertwining for a short period of time and the privilege I had in encountering this remarkable human being.
In Mrs. Formyduval’s fifth-grade class at Garrett Elementary School, I befriended Kristi Edwards and from there, we became great friends. Our friendship progressed from safety patrol pals in elementary school to library assistants and class clowns at middle school. I still laugh when I think of the occurrences of Kristi rushing into the library and assembling the bulletin boards in disarray.
Kristi and I had a knack for making people laugh and being involved in every sport and because of it, we held a tight bond. We remained friends up until freshman year of high school and the aneurism that took her life. I continue to remember her angelic face and contagious laugh and I do not associate Kristi with death because her life was so full of gaiety. Personally, I believe that God used Kristi to show us how quickly life can escape us.
Pondering this realization, I found a rock and sat on it for a good two hours. I realized the reason God wanted me to remember her.
Through my dilemmas, not one is too cumbersome that it can force me to neglect life. I began speaking aloud to God and I thanked Him for my own life. As a college student now, I forget that no matter how daunting problems appear, a life can be taken, even early in one’s journey. Which direction do I take?
Death outdoes all other experiences because it is the last of them. Sometimes it leaps suddenly upon its victims, like a frog on this rock in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. A friendly reminder will always accompany the journeys we partake. Don’t be afraid to go outside.

Chelsey N. Fattal is a second-semester sophomore at Saint Mary’s College and The University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind., and a Teens & Twenties writer.


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