It’s interesting how much the movies we watched as kids influence us as adults. Stories are powerful things—a message that is one of the main themes of my life. I hadn’t realized how much I’d internalized of Pocahontas until I watched it again recently.

Forget the weird romance that doesn’t make much logical sense—the best parts of that movie are the songs where Pocahontas sings about Nature. She picks up the dirt, and hands it to John Smith, and it falls right through his fingers, because he doesn’t understand. And the grinning bobcat made out of the gap of trees, with a smile of stars? I don’t know how many times I watched that movie as a kid, and knew the lyrics, but didn’t see the bobcat’s face until just now.

I can’t remember much else in my childhood encouraging me to live as one with Nature. I remember saving saplings from housing development lots, and replanting them with my grandpa elsewhere. I remember building a pond in his backyard, and catching frogs from across the way to come live there.

School never taught us about Nature. Ecosystems, sure. As if they all exist in separate terrariums. No one really showed us how to live with Nature, though. How humans fit into this whole mess. I don’t know why Native Americans picked totems, but I know why I have one. Because we can learn so much from those who live with Nature. I’ve never felt so peaceful and protected as when I feel a part of Nature.

So, thanks, Pocahontas, for exposing me to a view of Nature that wasn’t very prevalent at the time. (And thanks to Tarzan, and Fern Gully, and others I’ve probably forgotten, for continuing that.)


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