top of page

You are reading

Nature is speaking

A case submitted by

Candelaria Gomez-Manzano

Although I was born in Barcelona, in a cement suburb, I have learned, through time and personal experiences, to value my connection with nature's many faces. I found that watching trees and flowers and listening to birds calmed my thoughts and even brought me happiness. However, I have also heard nature's screams and felt the uneasiness of its silence.

A few years ago, I experienced flooding in Houston, where we live now. After incredible continuous rain, water ultimately covered the streets, the cars, and the houses. Our house was spared from this tragedy, but we witnessed how helicopter teams rescued close neighbors from the roofs of their homes and front yards covered with debris, wet and smelly carpets, furniture, toys, and family pictures. A bayou system built in the past to avoid flooding in one area outside of the city was now, sadly, bringing massive flows and submerging Houston in dirty waters. Some houses were flooded five times in one single year. I am sure many families experienced after this incredible situation high levels of stress every time they heard drops hitting the roofs of their houses; at least, this is what I was feeling…

Houston is built on swamps, forested lands, and waterlands. Although it is a big city, you can still encounter wildlife and vegetation. I love the umbrella formed by the oak trees on the roads and yards. They host squirrels and birds. Last summer, I noticed how vital those trees and their inhabitants were to me. When temperatures were at record highs for several months, walking outside was unpleasant. Nature was speaking to me, not with the screaming of torrential rains but through its silence. That summer was especially dry; the city advised us to decrease water use in our yards. I became worried about the oak trees: the high temperatures and the lack of rain could cause my friends, the oak trees, to become sick. I start to worry about not watching birds or seeing butterflies. It might be that they migrated to habitable worlds… I felt stress and anxiety imagining, on my way home from work, that the treetops were not green anymore, that I could not hear the turtledoves… losing all these signs of life that I consider now essential for my well-being.


Have a Story to Share?

bottom of page