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Breathtaking. That’s the only word that comes to mind when I remember this day and this view. One of my favorite places in Oregon (truthfully, my list of favorite places there is quite long), Crown Point will always be a place I make a point to visit when I travel there. It was actually one of my first adventures in Oregon when I first moved to Vancouver, WA in the fall of 2014.
Having grown up in a small town in Pennsylvania, nature was something I had learned I couldn’t live without. My first camping trip was when I was only a month old. I spent the first 15 years of my life avoiding shoes like the plague, and to this day, I still hate socks and closed toe shoes. I feel most alive when I’m in the woods, listening to the birds, feeling the sunshine peek through the canopy of leaves overhead, and feeling the rush of cool water from the creeks and waterfalls wash over me. Every time I enter a forest, I can feel my soul returning home, and no matter what may be happening in my life or in the world, I instantly feel at peace.
Now imagine that feeling multiplied a thousand times over, and that’s how this place made me feel. I was accustomed to forests, but they were the tame, human-cultivated forests of the eastern US. When I arrived here, it was clear I had entered a completely new world of forests and nature. A world that was still wild and seemingly impossible to tame. It felt as if humans had no control here. You were in the world of The Forest, and here you relinquished your powers to the trees, meadows, and living creatures that inhabited it.
That feeling of powerlessness didn’t make me feel weak, as you would typically expect when hearing that word. In actuality, it made me feel stronger than I ever had. Reaching this view and seeing the beauty of nature laid out before me made me feel invincible. If nature, after all the destruction it has suffered at the hands of humans, can still hold such beauty, I can overcome anything in my own life. I can embody the resilience of nature I see here, stand in the face of adversity, and show the world that even at its worst, it can never destroy me.
This one singular view left me breathless on this particular day, and still leaves me breathless every time I revisit it in my mind. Any time I experience a hardship in my life, big or small, I remember this day. I remember how powerless I felt then and compare it to what I’m experiencing at that moment. Then I remember that feeling of invincibility and can feel the force of nature within. Instantly I am reminded that this too shall pass, and I will still be standing. Nothing can stand in my way because I do not stand alone. The nature in the world stands behind me, and with it, I will overcome any obstacles in my path.