OK, I’ll say it. I’m grateful but tired. I’m tired of the lockdown life. I’m tired of not having space to focus, of increased domestic chores, of scrambling for ideas to keep my children busy, and sorting disputes between siblings. I’m tired of being a teacher, maid, therapist, and playmate all at once. I’m tired of giving.
One might think all I need is for someone to check in, however, I have many friends that have done that. What I need, I can’t get from others; I can’t give to myself. I need something deeply replenishing; poetry, but not the kind that can be spoken or written down. I need time alone in nature.
Science has proven that the natural world has extreme positive effects upon the human body and mind. Even viewing scenes of nature increases pleasant feelings. Not only does nature make us feel better emotionally, it also has a profound effect on our physical bodies, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension.
Nature soothes, restores, teaches and inspires. I have found wisdom and wonder in observing trees, flowers, birds, rivers, stars, spiders, the seasons and sunset after sunset. (Heck, I wrote a whole book about it). Here are 3 of the many lessons nature has taught me.
- Imperfections are beautiful.
In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, they’re still beautifulAlice Walker
When I am in nature my ‘flaws’ don’t feel like ‘flaws’. I see that just like a crooked branch or a seagull with one leg, I am part of a glorious masterpiece that is what it is. I imagine if every tree was symmetrical, every leaf the same size and colour, every river bend the same angle, every star the same weight and distance and think I would rather nature have imperfections. Not only do her imperfections make her more interesting, they make me comfortable with my own.
- What will be, will be.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.Lao Tzu
I remember when my son wanted to have a night picnic. He grabbed a snack from the pantry and dragged me outside. We laided two large beach towels next to each other and looked up at the sky. I pointed out the southern cross and the saucepan (two groups of stars every Aussie kid knows) but he wasn’t interested. He was fixed on the moon. After telling me how big and weird and beautiful it was, he went inside. (Apparently night picnics are only good for about fifteen minutes). Alone, I continued to watch the moon. Soon, I noticed what it did to me; how it made me calm.
He is calm I think it's because from way up there He sees it is all coming together. Mellow yellow moon.
We don’t need to rush, hustle or stress to be who we are meant to be, or do what we are called to do.
- Enjoy the season you are in.
Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.Henry David Thoreau
There is a tree outside my bedroom window. Every autumn it lets its leaves go. Watching it, the beauty, the colour, the transformation is theatre. I enjoy every stage of its conversion. We in the west, break the seasons into four. Although I have a favourite, I enjoy them all. The Japanese do it differently.
‘Seventy Two.’ That’s what he said. ‘There are seventy- two seasons, in the traditional Japanese calendar. One. East wind melts ice. Two. Bush warblers start singing. Three. Fish emerge from ice.’ As he spoke, I felt my heart tip forward, waiting to fall. ‘Four. Rain moistens soil. Five. Mist starts to linger. Six. Grass sprouts. Trees bud.’ And fall it did. But not far before words turned into heart wings. ‘Seven. Hibernating insects surface. Eight. First peach blossoms. Nine. Caterpillars become butterflies.’ I asked him about September. ‘In which season was I born?’ He asked me for a number. And when I said ‘eight’ a sweet smile formed on his face. Forty Three‘. Dew glistens white on grass.’ I don’t know if it is possible to be in love with time, But there, listening to him, I had never been so astonished by what it does, or so grateful that things don’t come all at once.
We too, can find joy in every season of life. Whether childhood, the teen years, adulthood or old age, we can take from each stage of life the treasures only found within it.
All poetry featured in this post is from ‘A Strong and Fragile Thing,’ musings in reflection of the wisdom and wonder found in the natural world.