“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” –Rachel Carson
During the most difficult times in my life, I have found comfort in nature. Not only in its beauty and serenity, but in the perspective I gain from its observation. I’ll sit alone on the forest floor, resting my back on an oak trunk, and watch birds collect materials for their nests, while ants near my feet work diligently at their tasks, and squirrels busy themselves chasing each other from limb to limb. I’ll recline on a sandy creek bank, listening to the soft trickle, and watch a family of turtles sun themselves on a log, then slip one by one into the cool water. Minnows dart around in shallow pools, and a doe stops by for a drink. Nature and its processes carry on, unaware of the concerns I carry, and unfazed by humanity’s toiling. Wildlife continuously adapt to their surroundings amidst conditions that impact the landscape and their resources. Natural disasters, ever-expanding urbanization, and the regular cycles of the earth make for a perpetual learning curve. Nature is the supreme teacher of resiliency, and provides the most elegant examples of embracing the cycles of life.
A forest fire can be devastating, burning everything in its path entirely to ash, displacing both animals and people, and destroying resources. But in time, new growth will rise from the destruction, even more lush than before. The wildlife know to give the fire its space, let it smolder, and return for the rebirth. A river will spill over its banks, swallowing up the land for miles around, stranding animals and drowning their homes. They patiently wait it out, knowing the water will eventually recede. The fox grown gaunt from winter’s scarcity does not despair, but endures for the spring plenty it knows is coming.
It’s difficult to see beyond tough situations when we’re in them, but we can always count on the hard times to pass. A glance at nature can remind us that there will always be a new beginning.