To the Editor:

Severe PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) was her diagnosis, but a person is so much more than their diagnosis. She cried through every session and was terrified of everything.

We had been meeting weekly for five years before she would shake hands with me. She was disconnected from her own body and frequently dissociated. It was painful to be with her because her suffering was so visible.

As her trust in me grew, she agreed to walk in the woods with me. I invited her to bend down and pick up some dried leaves. Together we rubbed the leaves in our hands and then smelled the fragrance they gave off. We put our hands into the cold water of a tiny stream and experienced the chill. These simple acts opened the door to feeling something natural and safe.

One day we walked across the Hollow in Woodbury and stopped by the river bank. We had been walking in silence so the deer on the other side of the river were not alarmed by our approach. Surprised, we realized we were looking at a doe and her fawn just on the other side. “Are they real?” she whispered.

To be “in Nature,” I believe, means to connect with the natural world that is all around us and that sustains our actual lives. We don’t have to have severe PTSD to experience the healing force of the natural world, we just have to be there.

There are 129 land trusts in Connecticut who are working to conserve 200,000 acres. Imagine if we all joined and supported nature in our towns? What if we lived as if our lives depend on the natural world?

Actions matter. Policy matters. Voting matters.

Catherine Lavoie

Bethlehem

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