Finding My Forest

I was raised in a small town in Upstate New York about two hours north of New York City. Full disclosure: I’ve only been to NYC about five times in my entire life. My parents weren’t really city people so it was never a trip we made when I was growing up. This made it especially amusing to me when I lived in places like Hawaii and Colorado, where everyone assumes when you say that you’re from New York that you’re from Manhattan. “Wow so this must be pretty slow pace for you if you’re from New York!” Not really…
I’m not much of city person.
At all.
I love quiet. I love wide open spaces.
Country roads.
I feel so much more at ease in places like mine and Adam’s home towns. He was raised in an even (way) smaller town than I was. I love it.
Oahu is and will always be one of my homes. I moved there in 2014 and fell head-over-heels, love-at-first-sight in love with that island. The stunning beauty of the north shore and the windward side is something that I cannot even put into words. Swimming in the Pacific Ocean for the first time was like being taken into the arms of the long-lost love of my life.  
That being said, it is a heavily populated island at this point. Living there is very much like living in a city.
When I decided to move to the Big Island to be with Adam, Kona felt like the small-town vibe that I was familiar with. The huge area of the island alone allowed for us to drive for hours- exploring new places, taking photos, blasting music in my loud old X-terra that I picked up for $1000! (Four-wheel drive is a necessity on BI!) I love that place.
But our hearts knew that it was time for us to go.
So here we are in the AMAZING pacific northwest. Remember when I said that I fell in love with Oahu at first sight? Well, that’s how I felt the first time I saw Oregon. The waterfalls, the Mckenzie River, Clear Lake, Sisters, Bend… I could go on and on. The miles and miles of beautiful hiking trails and ridiculously huge trees…I couldn’t get enough. I still can’t.
Our work has brought us to Washington, and I can’t complain about that because the hiking here is incredible. Mount Rainier National Park alone is vast and beautiful enough to keep a person occupied every weekend for years. We have just started exploring Olympic National Park and that seems to have its own extensive and unique charm. It is absolutely magical.
One part of our life in Washington that has been quite an adjustment is the fact that we live in one of the biggest cities on the West Coast-Seattle. The energy here is very busied, fast-pace, and dare I say hostile.  The traffic is worse than anywhere I have ever lived. Worse than New Jersey. Stopping at a crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to cross gets you honked and hollered at. Drive less than 10 miles per hour above the speed limit in a school zone and you get an aggressive middle finger (I mean we had arm pumping action going on).
Why is everyone so ANGRY? Where are you all rushing to get?? 
Lots of thoughts come to mind when I am driving through Seattle. When you consider the history of this city, you find that most its development came through the gold rush and logging. The entire city and the surrounding area was a giant old growth forest. It was perfectly set up to cut down trees and slide them right into the bay and ship them down to San Francisco to build that city.
The city’s namesake, Chief Seattle, was said to have warned the settlers not to cut down all the trees. He warned that transforming the entire forest into money would lead to starvation. You can’t eat money, right?
While it may seem like the city is doing pretty well generally speaking, I see an awful lot of starvation.
In the quest for money and success we’ve forgotten what it is that truly makes us happy. We have forgotten the forest, the ocean, the animals, and each other.
Speeding around on residential streets where kids are playing to get to a job that makes us miserable.
Ignoring our families while they are talking to us because we are so preoccupied stressing out about paying our bills.
Driving right past a city of tents filled with homeless people who are dealing with drug addiction because maybe they just couldn’t handle the reality of the harsh world around them.
Thinking that the Native Americans that we committed genocide against are out of bounds for wanting us to stop destroying our (their) land.
How did we get so disconnected from each other? Who convinced us that it is us against each other?
I don’t know what the answers to these questions are. I can’t help but think that returning to a simpler life that is more connected with nature would help us to feel that connection to each other again. It sure has done that for me.
The things that I ponder from my computer in the middle of the city.
I like to think of my mind as a forest of my own until the weekend. <3