I’ve been thinking about what to write about for my free article and
I decided on something pretty simple. In my early teen years I was
lucky enough to go on a trip with my grandparents and I traveled all over
the western United States. While on this trip I went to several national parks
including Yosemite, Glacier, and Yellowstone, as well as many other landmarks.
I can remember the feeling of what it was like to be in the parks, it was like
this awe-inspiring experience and I remember just being blown away by it. I feel like
It’s basically instilled in people that you should have that kind of feeling when
seeing ‘old faithful’ or many of the amazing things preserved in our national parks,
but as we discussed in class, is it really ‘wilderness’? or is it just a manmade
illusion, we’re taught to think of as wilderness? I like to think of America’s
national parks as our version of history, like a real-life museum. It’s something
our country is proud of and it’s become a part of our history the same way that
the cathedrals have become a part of most of Europe’s history.
This past spring break I went on a trip to Italy and remember feeling those
same exact feelings looking at the Duomo in Florence or the Sistene Chapel in
Rome. It’s like I had learned about all these amazing places and masterpieces
and now I’m seeing them in person, it had that same awe-inspired feeling like
I’d never seen something so amazing in my life. I’m not trying to sound dramatic
but that’s how I felt standing in front of Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures
and looking at the byzantine mosiacs in Ravenna. It felt the same as standing in
front of the Redwood trees in California and the natural pools of Yellowstone.
While the infamous artwork and places in Italy are completely manmade, our national
parks are to be thought of as more natural or untouched and I feel that they are
manmade and can have the same effect as say the Sistine Chapel on some people.
I’m not trying to necessarily compare the national parks to the Italian landmarks and artwork, but the experience and what it’s like to be in the presence of both. While I’m sure they might completely differ from person to person as I’m not the most traveled person in the world, but for me the experience was the same, possibly because they were both so different from my own envision of the world. I grew up in the ‘wilderness’ my family owns 80 acres of land out in the ‘middle of nowhere’ and I’m used to grass, trees, etc. but the types of things preserved in our national parks aren’t grasslands and pastures they’re these incredible forces of mother nature whether it’s the massive trees in California or the geysers in Yellowstone. It’s not something that you see anywhere around here. It’s something you learned about in middle school history class, not something in your backyard (unless you’re from the areas). The same goes for Italy (at least for me) I’ve been pretty much obsessed with Italy since I was a child from the food, the art, the architecture, and pretty much everything about it fascinated me. However, it wasn’t til I took an interest in art and art history that I really fell in love. I was learning about all these incredible masterpieces and then once I saw them they were completely different things to me. I always thought of the Sistine Chapel as this huge grandiose chapel when in reality it’s just not.
So I think that in a way it’s appropriate to think of our national parks as our country’s own Sistine Chapel, it is after all our history. Our pieces of ‘untouched’ areas that hold a part of history and preserve those very special places. If you think about it we preserve them the same way that Italian’s preserve their churches, artwork, and famous landmarks, always doing maintenance and keeping them preserved for tourists everywhere to show their country’s pieces of history. While our country has a limited history compared to that of Italy I still believe it’s the same concept. We’re trying to preserve parts of our country to show to the world the same as they are and the experience though it may differ from person to person is assumed to have the same effect. They’re meant to make you feel like there is something bigger and more meaningful out there than just yourself, to give you the grand experience of mother nature instead of the man-made places in Europe. I feel they are the same concept and built to give you the same experiences.