Nature's Bounty

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My father taught me a lot of things growing up. What he instilled in me was valuing and appreciating nature. An interest in wildlife. Knowledge of plants, including being able to identify common poisonous ones. Marine life as well, even though I don’t share his love of fishing, we bonded over films like Free Willy and shows like Steven Irwin’s Crocodile Hunter. I mention this because with life’s stresses I find relaxation in familiar things and the quiet peace a person can obtain while surrounded by the trees.

When I was around 12, my parents moved from the city to a rural area. The sights and sounds of the city weren’t heard here. You could go outside and hear the breeze tug and tickle the leaves on the trees. Taking a deep breath allowed you to taste the crisp and clean air that is only unique to an area like that. Our close neighbors had a farm where they raised cattle, once the farmer invited our family to take a look at everything they had to do on a farm. One of the best things though, when I lived there, riding quads. Most of the back roads are lightly traveled so you had a lot of freedom when riding.

With my very first post on ASDNext, I talked about where I used to live, and I said it was a little boring. It was, for a kid just going into the teenage years, but when I stop and reflect after moving into the city, it’s night and day and sometimes I wish for the quiet I used to have while living in the middle of nowhere.

I did want to talk about my former home again though, partially because it’s Father’s Day this month and my Dad still resides up there my Sister. He’s had two strokes and despite his health problems, I really believe the atmosphere and ambiance of the area keeps his stress level down. Stress management is an important part of good health and recovery and place like that is different than going to north park for the day or spending time camping.

Would I ever want to live in a place like this again? Yes, however in rural areas there are few opportunities and resources to move forward if you’re someone young. That’s one of the reasons why I moved back into the city. Small towns like this are often neglected, roads take a while to get salted in the winter. My family has a well system that manages the water in our home and late night showers are out of the question if the system is in action. There are other aspects that I didn’t care for while living up there but I choose to remember the good things. That I was able to spend time enjoying nature in its full splendor and that my Dad enjoys living up there, and the latter is what is most important to me.


Ziggy is a Certified Peer Specialist in PA and currently resides in Pittsburgh. He is a member of the Let’s Act committee, a group of peers devoted to raising awareness about mental health care. In his downtime, he enjoys reading novels and watching nature documentaries.

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