and now I owe back to her.

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Photo by Tyler Lastovich from Pexels

My first poignant memory is outside. I run through the freshly cut grass, still pungent, in the summertime. Fireflies are flickering their magic in my hands. Nature at this moment is a soft friend, a gentle place to land. She offers me her comfort, her distraction, a home outside and separate from home. She’s exactly what I need.

In my preteens I walk the Mississippi muddy river banks with my dad. I use my hands to catch tiny turtles, the size of quarters, with painted bellies. Dad loves these trails, the Mines of Spain, and shares what he knows like he’s Steve Irwin. I don’t know yet that my dad will pass away suddenly and too young. …


Kayli Kunkel

Queens, NY. Sometimes traveler. Creating new narratives on mental health and sustainability. Founder of Earth & Me, a zero-waste small business and publication.

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