The summer of 1887 immediately followed Helen's breakthrough in learning to communicate using the manual alphabet. With the power of communication available to her, Helen was eager to learn all she could. She wanted to learn the names of everything around her. Learning the names of things gave her joy and helped her to feel more connected to the world she had long been distant from. Miss Sullivan took Helen outside to the river one day and taught her about how plants grow. Helen described this important day of learning in her autobiography:
I learned how the sun and the rain make to grow out of the ground every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, how birds build their nests and live and thrive from land to land, how the squirrel, the deer, the lion and every other creature finds food and shelter (The Story of My Life, Chapter V).
Miss Sullivan also instilled in Helen a love of nature. Helen had already learned to enjoy the smell and touch of nature in the garden on her family's property. With Miss Sullivan's help, Helen developed a special connection with nature. She learned to appreciate it in a new and deeper way.
Helen also experienced nature's fury. One day, she was under a tree when a sudden thunderstorm came. She sensed the change in the weather and she clung to the tree in fear.