Alex Dietz is one of the most thoughtful individuals we know and, fortunately for us, we've had the privilege of working alongside him for the last handful of years. We treasure him not just for his professional diligence and lovable personality but for his deep commitment to the volunteer work he's involved in. Alex is a person who "puts first things first" in the words of Stephen Covey.
We asked him if he would launch our "Take a Hike Chocolate Competition" with some words on the value of being outside. So without further ado, Happy National Take a Hike Day and here's Alex.
"I am drawn to nature because it is undoubtedly whole, fully complete, fully perfected.
Near my house is a narrow, scarcely traversed bike path meandering along a creek. On some occasions I will take my bike, on others I will walk, but everytime I will stop at a particular point on the trail. It is at this place where I climb down the embankment to be closer to the water. Down here, the trail is no longer visible, and the banks of the creek isolate me from the world outside of this scene, trapping me alone with my thoughts. Level with the creek is a massive oak tree, with its roots protruding from the ground like veins pressed against the earth’s skin. I sit, nestled comfortably among the roots, as though they were crafted to fit the exact dimensions of my body. Even when I am not at my place by the creek, my mind can still hear the mild roar of the water as it works its way through the terrain.
It is at these times that I feel the most human. Part of me wants to believe that my humanity does not belong in the forest, but at the same time, I realize that I belong to the earth just as much as the forest does. In these times of mental transparency, I feel the most full. I bring my pride, deceit, and prejudice to the creek, not to receive an instant cleansing, but to bask in the tangible wholeness of the natural world, hoping that it will allow me to more clearly see the beauty in my life, and in the lives of those around me.
Recently, I heard in a podcast that it is impossible to say that you “love the environment”. Why? Because, how could you feel a connection with something so broad and unspecific? When you say, “I love the environment”, you are saying that you love the parts of the environment that you interact with. Personally, I love my spot by the creek. I love my garden. I love the way that the snow falls on the pine trees in my backyard. I love the small fraction of the earth whose beauty I am able to experience. So I would encourage you, whoever is reading this sentence, to find the place in nature that draws you out of yourself, and into a more universal mindset of love, patience, and forgiveness. Find that spot, quiet your mind, and eat some chocolate while you’re there; that’s important too!"
Take a picture of yourself enjoying a Fudge Shoppe treat somewhere in "the great outdoors" and post it to our Facebook! We'll vote on the best picture December 2nd and give the winner a free T-Shirt and a $20 Gift Card. Best of luck! Go take a hike!
Senior at North Hunterdon High School planning to study Computer Engineering.
“There is no force in the world better able to alter anything from its course than love”-Gregory Boyle.