This is the second of a three part blog series about art, nature, and wellbeing. Check out my blog post on music and look out for my blog post about art journaling.

When I think about the best moments of my childhood, I picture endless days staring up at the night sky, wandering along forest paths, and chatting around bonfires. I remember the sense of freedom I felt playing outside every summer when it felt like nothing bad would ever come along to ruin the brightness of life. I romanticize nature as a constant positive presence in my early life.

When I think about the worst moments of my adult life, I picture endless days staring at computer screens, being chained to white cubicles, and feeling anxious about social situations. I remember the helplessness I felt when I believed that all of my life had been ruined. I have so many negative emotions associated with the feeling of being trapped inside, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given how childhood nostalgia has shaped my perceptions of nature, it is perhaps no surprise that I think about nature as a refuge where I can find comfort when dealing with negative emotions. In nature, I can be free to think creatively, believe in positivity, and feel welcome. I am my best self when I am in nature.

I wrote the poem “Children of Summer” during college while I was homesick for the woods I had grown up wandering. I was also struggling to navigate the transition between childhood and adulthood. This piece gave me a chance to process how I feel about nature and remember why I value it so strongly. It’s one of the earliest poems I wrote as an adult and happens to be one of my favorites. Enjoy!

Children of Summer by Elizabeth Allen

Run free into the night, all you tired and broken

Let the stars guide you to this familiar forest

A magical site, your home away from home

Your home that will always be here

Your home that invites you back

Let yourself believe in beauty

And the moonlit night

Will welcome you

Nature speaks


Answer me

I am waiting

Reach out to me

I hope for your embrace

I will always wish for you

I know that you have been gone

But I also know you can come again

You have the freedom to choose and to believe

You have the freedom to become again children of summer

This is a picture of trees in Elizabeth's neighborhood.
Photo credit: Elizabeth Allen

Elizabeth Allen

Elizabeth Allen is interested in working to better understand the intersections of complex topics such as climate change, poverty, disasters, public health, and mental health. She is a writer and researcher at heart who loves reading, journaling, and listening to Broadway musicals.