Journal Archive
« Canned 'Possum | Main | Beneath the Snows of Late Winter »

Nature: Giver and Taker

Today, my first day back to work at the nature sanctuary after surgery, was a beautiful pre-spring day. I got a chance to wander slowly to survey damage from the weekend Nor'easter. See photos below.

Whenever I witness the humbling power of natural forces it becomes crystal clear that we are as frail as a flower and as insignificant as a flea. We humans have an unconscious, arrogant ignorance about our status in the web of life on this planet. We play a game of dodging the laws of nature. We seem to like to delay and manipulate natural forces wherever possible and see what we can get away with. This is not to criticize genuine interest in harmonious living and survival of the species. But so  much of our troubles in this world are born of this arrogant game-playing. Perhaps humans are natural-born gamblers. Some populations have no choice because of the country or island on which they live: They must build homes and farmland on slopes of volcanoes, or on seismic fault lines, in Tornado Alley, or along coastal areas of the world. Sooner or later, nature wins the roll of the dice and in short order, nature waves her hand and alters landscapes and lives.

Sand dunes completely erased from length of shoreline. Pale roots of reeds seem to wriggle up from the sand. They once supported plants that grew atop several feet of dune sand.So this last storm simply wiped away many thousands of tons of sand dune, trees, grasses, reeds, rocks, and other debris. In the aftermath, I saw the telltale signs of such alterations as being effortless – so effortless. It is hard to comprehend the energy contained in a storm. Trees of sizable girth and age were snapped and uprooted. True masters of survival for hundreds of years, some have finally lost in this particular contest with wind and rain and tide. A reminder that we too can just as easily be taken out of the game. 

Trees uprooted across trail. Photo by Lorraine KenneryNature offers us immense beauty, places to play and laugh, and find peace or excitement; nature provides sustenance for our body, mind, spirit, and emotions. Nature may be calm or violent in her expression of power, but she is never cruel, unfair, mean, spiteful, wanton, or angry. These are human traits we apply to nature because we've lost our primal understanding of our relationship with her. If you haven't already noticed, pay attention to the vocabulary used by nearly all weather forecasters and TV personalities reporting on natural events such as heat waves, blizzards, allergy forecasts, etc. The choice is not accidental – they want to make you feel a particular way. It is a manipulation of your sensibility and emotions. They're telling you how to feel and think rather than have you do it for yourself. Rainy days are NOT miserable – they're just rainy days! If we are miserable then it is our mental attitude towards the weather of the moment. Sure, we may prefer a perfect sunny day or whatever, but can we not also see the wonder (and vitality and importance) of a rainy day or a sweltering, August afternoon? Nature is honest and real, and in a man-made world of lies, manipulation, and inequality, that is important to remember.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>