Gould’s bond with nature is always strengthening. The more connected she becomes to nature, the more she is able to notice how nature is a reflection of humanity. Gould explains that in a sense, nature is her “religion.”
“My understanding of God is that [God is] the sun because the sun gives us life, and it also can take life away from us,” Gould said. “It’s this all-powerful source of power and energy that nourishes everybody.”
Mythology teacher Meghan Choate agrees with Gould on how nature plays a role in religious faith. She explains that in many ancient cultures, nature was used to explain the world and seen as a testament to a higher power.
“We look at a bunch of different creation myths from different cultures and in a lot of those, nature is this kind of benevolent force,” Choate said. “For example, in Judeo-Christian myths, we look at Noah's Ark and the flood and we see nature at work in that text as a way for creation to be reborn. It’s this tool to explain the unknown.”
Lee also finds ancient myths about nature to be very interesting, as they allow her to briefly escape the scientific frame of thinking she typically uses. However, she ultimately doesn’t believe the irrational myths.
“I’m a big fan of the Native American myths,” Lee said. “Like the one that says that someone threw a blanket over the sky, then poked holes through it, which is why there stars. Obviously, I don’t believe in it because science is more logical but I think it’s cool to fantasize about it.”
While Choate and lee connect with nature through myths and stories, Gould’s appreciation and close connection with nature stems from her childhood, as she attended a Waldorf school, which emphasizes hands-on activities and creativity. However, during her college years, she remembers how she briefly lost her connection with nature and had to consciously re-develop it.
“As a young student, I kind of backed away from [nature] a little bit,” Gould said. “When I was in college, I studied in New York City. It was very urban and I was very disconnected from nature. But while I was in New York, I realized that there was something really lacking in my life and that's when I started getting interested in working on farms and being out in more rural areas. Since then, I've made it a priority [to spend time in nature].”