Posted by: Kat Denton | September 3, 2011

Kat Denton

As I think about the eternal nature of the ocean I’m flooded with inspiration and images of this colossal entity that feeds our earth. Carson does a decent job of depicting the immortality of the ocean, but to truly experience and become intimate with any aspect of nature, one must be actively seeking a relationship with nature itself. Hence, I personally often find it beneficial to compare knowing nature to knowing God.

When it comes to the ocean, I have always felt a massive humbling presence when standing on the shore. The waves break and ease up the sand only to retreat back to the deep mysterious recesses of the ocean. There’s this powerful feeling of the unknown, and I will never be able to fully understand with my limited human intellect, the great intricacies of something so vast, powerful, and nurturing as the ocean.

The ocean feeds, nourishes, protects, and births so many various creatures of nature and human beings. Unfortunately the extent to which humans are detached from the benefits and necessity of the ocean is frightening. We find a comfortable way to place a buffer between ourselves and nature in general, so as to not feel guilt at our deathly role in the essential cycles, such as the water cycle. The ocean is a prolific source for the water cycle, and our treatment of the ocean and use of water in general plays a vital role in the execution and replenishment of the cycle.

Even I must admit that the ocean looks and seems so vast and endless that it’s easy to forget how precious and vulnerable the water actually is to human action. We discussed in class recently the idea that nature will live on and probably live on much better without man. While this is most likely true, how much more so can nature thrive if man is investing and nurturing nature in the same way it nourishes the earth?

Recognizing my personal responsibility and role in the cycle of water is one way I can pursue a more intimate relationship with the ocean. Just with God, I seek intimacy with the ocean, not always looking for ways the ocean can benefit and nurture me, but rather how I can serve the ocean. Knowledge and education are beautiful gifts that humans can give back to nature with.

I had the opportunity to be involved in environmental education at the UNF wildlife sanctuary for three years. I was able to teach children and adults about key habitats of Florida and the various interactions we have with the ecosystems around us. Everyday I knew that I was empowering young minds to better serve our natural world. The generation that follows us is key in continuing to develop a relationship of equality between man and nature. When children and adults are placed in a setting where they are able to see, taste, feel, hear, and touch the ocean, or any other aspect of the natural world, it opens doors for a relationship of much greater value.

When I seek to grow in my knowledge and communication with God, I study Him and His message, history, and life. Similarly, studying the ocean this semester is going to empower me with knowledge that can bring the ocean from a more distant natural entity to a more intimately connected life force. I will always be humbled by the ocean, and I desire to always be humbled in the presence of something so powerful and generous. Yet, I also know that I cannot separate myself  from the cycle of water, or any natural cycle on earth–the moment I do I become an alien.

 

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