Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge expanded their staff this year by employing four students through the Student Conservation Association, a nationwide program. I am one of those students. Upon arrival to St. Croix, I knew absolutely nothing about the sea turtles, nothing about the people, nothing about the land. Now I know some; the sound of the palms slicing and swishing in the wind, the dry sweet taste of a little coco plum, and the sight of a Leatherback Sea Turtle, pushing herself slowly, timelessly really, into nighttime waves. This familiarity, this newfound knowledge of mine, deserves no other name than love.
For what is love if not understanding? I understand that the sand is made of an infinite number of small rocks, all eroded, all eroding. When I see all those rocks on my arm, when I look below my feet as the rocks slouch away, I love them for that understanding. When I look below the ocean surface to the corals and fish, I see them all together, existing in a world I had never considered, and I love them for that understanding. When I see Leatherback hatchlings squirm out from the sand and begin to frenzy toward the waves, I know that they are following the light of the setting sun reflecting glorious blues and pinks on the horizon, and I love them for that understanding.
And now I find myself sitting in the sand, watching the pelicans dive as the fish jump while the waves crash and the sunset greets the hatchlings from across the ocean’s expanse. Here I am, with a group of intrigued visitors, and with all of these things I love. We all sit around a nest of budding babies, and watch them create a stream of deep dark blue bodies as they flow toward the ocean. We watch hatchlings scooting over the sand, and as we do I hope that everyone sees what I see: the simplest of things, when truly understood, is revealed to be an intricate part of a wondrous whole. I hope that the visitors learn to call their understanding love.
I have yet to find a better feeling in the world than the feeling that strikes my eyes, my mind, and my soul when I see others begin to understand the ineffable nature of all things in themselves and as a whole… For it is in this realm of understanding that I keep stumbling upon truth, beauty and most of all: love.
Perhaps my personal revelation is not so personal after all. Perhaps this understanding, this love, is universal.
“Nature never became a toy to a wise spirit. The flowers, the animals, the mountains, reflected the wisdom of his best hour, as much as they had delighted the simplicity of his childhood.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson “On Nature”
~Molly Busk, Student Conservation Association Education Intern at Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge 2012