Smell the flowers

Natalie Comerford, Opinion Columnist

I enjoy noticing the distinct sound of quiet when it snows, the smell of air as it gets crisper in October and the leaves falling from the trees to create massive piles. I notice these things every single day as I walk to class or the library and as I sit and study in Cleveland. Nature, especially in the small everyday ways we experience it, is one of the most important things to pay attention to. Our surroundings change every day with the weather, as one day the campus is blanketed in a sheet of white snow and the next it is pouring rain. Noticing change is one of the things we do so frequently, and nature undeniably changes constantly. We should all pay attention more to nature.

Paying attention to our surroundings, both physically and in terms of current events, is one of the ways we stay connected to the world outside of ourselves. Nature is a critical piece of the way we notice our surroundings because nature finds itself everywhere. The more we notice, the more we appreciate. We are all noticing our surroundings every single day, and our surroundings have a massive impact on our mood. It takes very little time at all to feel stressed or overwhelmed in a huge crowd, and it is undeniable that calm environments can have a massive positive impact on our mood as well. Nature and weather can be unpredictable and unpleasant at times, but the force of nature is so undeniably strong that it is always grounding to notice your physical surroundings.

Over and over as I walk across campus, it occurs to me how beautiful the Whitman College campus is. We are surrounded by nature every day, whether it’s the sprawling green fields or the towering trees cloaking beautiful buildings, and noticing the beauty of it brings joy to mundane tasks such as walking to class or lunch. The more we notice everything around us, the more we can appreciate the small changes in nature every day and the way our campus stays the same throughout. It is an incredibly important and somewhat challenging task to pay attention to such small changes. These changes can look like a single beautiful tree changing colors or like how the ducklings grow slightly bigger every day until they are no longer babies. We must notice nature and appreciate the beauty in our surroundings, especially as we go into a season where campus changes less every day.