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Why taking a step back can help you appreciate the world

Nov. 16, 2017
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I am standing in front of a digitally-rendered flower wall, and before my eyes the petals begin to wilt and melt away as if I am radiating an intense form of heat that scares the flowers into oblivion. As soon as I take a step back, the flowers begin to blossom again.

This art installation at Pace Art + Technology points to the message that if humans get too close to nature, its beauty will decay. Stand back and appreciate it, and nature will flourish. Although the exhibit no longer exists, the impact it made on me does. 

I often stop in the middle of the sidewalk to stare a little while longer at the yellow flowers peeking out of the ground or to gaze up at the clouds dancing in the sky. It is difficult to understand the balance between humanity and nature, and whether our behavior is beneficial or detrimental to this planet. Appreciating all the beauty this world has to offer is not a bad place to start.

On my trip to Hawaii, I visited a garden decorated with flowers and patterns I have never seen before. 

I am frequently revisiting the gifts I have received since picking up my camera. I have found a greater appreciation for the accidental art and unidentified beauty in this world. When I look at these flowers through the viewfinder of my camera, I am pushing myself to find art in places that other people will overlook.

I find that when humans find something beautiful, they want to own it, and they want to make it their own—not just in nature but in life. I am still learning how to selflessly appreciate and love the beauty in this world without destroying it. I am still learning how to take that step back.