I sat beside the river and smiled. It seemed a little funny to me that us humans believe we are the stars of this Earth show and that nature is here for us, rather than with us. What if we are here for nature? I think it’s more likely that we are all just here, to be whoever and whatever we are.
Last night as I sat beside the river, an epiphany that’s been growing within me grew a little more, so I thought I’d share it with you guys, just in case you’re interested.
I’ll start with the trees. Trees begin with a trunk. As they rise (grow) they branch out, one branch at a time. Each branch thickens and solidifies over time, and as it does it gives birth to new branches, which then give birth to new branches and new branches, until finally we reach the climax: the leaf.
Flowers. All begin with a stem which grows and, in time, becomes a beautiful little bud, bursting for change, bursting to open. Petal by petal it reveals itself, until eventually we have a fully open flower. It doesn’t happen over night, the growth process. But perhaps that’s the whole point of all life. The journey.
We know roughly what will come of a growing tree/flower because we’ve seen it so many times before and so the expectation is to look toward the finished product. To wait for it, even. But what if we’d never seen a fully grown flower? What if we’d never seen a fully grown tree? All we would have is each individual moment to watch the flower bloom. The same is true for the tree.
A flower/tree has never experienced itself, or this life, before, so how would it know how to grow but to simply let the process be and to experience whatever may happen along the way?As the flower blooms, as the tree branches out, as the human lives and ages…all there is is the process. Living. Experiencing. That’s all there is. For all of us.
And so it could be said that nature is here to live and experience life as consciously and fully as we humans are. Each flower is here to find out what it is like to be that particular flower in that particular environment, in every moment it lives. Some flowers live to be picked or destroyed. Some live their whole lives to wither and naturally die. The same goes for trees. Some tree branches may be jumped on by a child and broken, leaving the tree injured and in need of renewal and repair. Some will mend on their own. Some will need help. Some, as nature and all things go eventually, will die.
These processes the natural world go through: they are really no different than the processes we go through, as humans. Growth. Challenges. Being loved and cared for. Being abused. Nature goes through it all, right alongside of us, and none of us have any clue what the journey will be until we are in it, living it, being it.
This will likely sound a little (cough: really quite) crazy to those of you who are absolutely not on the nature train, so perhaps I’ll leave you with a little piece of homework, if you’re interested in diving deeper. When you are next outside, go to the nearest tree and hold your hand up beside a leaf (palm facing you). Look at the leaf carefully. Then look at your hand carefully. Look at the leaf and your hand, again.
When you see it, you will smile, I guarantee you that much. And you will know, without any doubt, that you are not at all alone in this universe.
Nor have you ever been.