July 10, 2022: Nature, a Teacher of Patience and the Power of Perseverance
In today’s fast-twitch world, it can seem as if our lives are on a converter belt with the speed set on high velocity. Instant gratification for information, social interactions or even a shopping binge, is achieved with a simple tap on a keyboard. Daily onslaughts of news fill us with dismay at the trials and tribulations of a world seemingly gone awry. It can seem as if we’re hurtling through time, our days filled with endless to-do lists and outside events seem chaotic and spiraling out of control, leading to feelings of anxiety and worry about the future. Yet this is precisely the time to look, instead of a computer screen or television, but outdoors to discover the lessons we can learn from nature.
“Nature is our greatest teacher, or surrender, of allowing, of simply being. Every blade of grass, every flower, every tree remembers. This is moment. This present. This is where life is.”―Alexandra Domelle
Whenever we venture outdoors, even for short periods of time, I always return calmer, inspired and refreshed. Setting the intention to pay attention to the wonders that surround us, quiets any turbulent thoughts and opens the doors to new and meaningful understandings. In addition, I have found that having a camera with us helps to focus my attention on the lessons and wonders that surround us from the world’s greatest teacher…..Nature.
“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”John Muir
I have learned the value of patience and perseverance while attempting to photograph an elusive bird. This week while hiking a nearby trail, we heard a clear, musical birdsong coming from high in a tree. Our bird song app* identified it as a red-eyed vireo, a small bird notoriously difficult to photograph, as they rarely sit still. But on that day, we let go of our instinct to keep walking and waited…patiently for about 15 minutes. We recorded and played back its song and watched in delight as this fast flyer engaged in a call and response, flitting from branch to branch right in front of us. I had never seen one before, and being not only able to see it in action, but to actually capture it in photo, was an unexpected gift.
Time spent outdoors has taught us that we must be patient and persevere through the challenges of change. The beautiful lake in front of our camp and northern studio, was formed by glaciers that occurred over 20,000 years ago. It’s difficult to fathom how the coves and islands we now explore on this 22 mile-long lake, were carved out of the earth, stone by stone, by mile-high, slowly inching, masses of ice. When faced with the challenge of a nest destroyed by a hurricane several years ago, the eagles we follow have relocated and built a new one, patiently stick by stick. When we discovered the new aerie, we were delighted to see a young eaglet peering out.
This week, we headed out on several days to photograph a family of loons we had heard about in one of the many coves. We discovered pairs of loons, but were disappointed to not see any babies. Yesterday, we once again headed out, and found the cove where they were supposed to be empty. At the same time, I realized that I had left the disc for the camera back at camp. Frustration almost caused me to give up, but we headed back, retrieved the crucial disk and went back out again. This time we ventured to the next cove and discovered mama and her two babies. Once again, we sat quietly in awe and watched her interactions with the two fuzzy chicks. Another gift was received, along with the lesson of the value of patience and perseverance.
These are simple examples of how both the patience and perseverance we witness in nature, can guide us through our own times of challenge and change. Taking the time out of our busy lives, to stop and savor the gifts and lessons from nature, can alleviate the sense of anxiety, conflict and worry of a conflicted world.
Once again, we’ve gathered some inspirational quotes on what we can learn from Nature as a Teacher. Thank you for taking the time to read our blog and we welcome your comments, lessons you’ve learned from nature or quotes that inspire you. Please feel free to share it with someone who might find it meaningful.
Best regards, Wendy Oellers-Fulmer
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES ON NATURE
“Nature breeds curiosity; it helps to grow explorers rather than robots.
It reminds us that we are part of some“Let Nature be your teacher.”William Wordsworth
“For the 99 percent of the time we’ve been on Earth,
we were hunter and gatherers, our lives dependent on knowing the fine, small details of our world.
Deep inside, we still have a longing to be reconnected with the nature
that shaped our imagination, our language, our song and dance, our sense of the divine. ”Janine M. Benyus
“If there is one thing clear about the centuries dominated by the factory and the wheel,
it is that although the machine can make everything from a spoon to a landing-craft,
a natural joy in earthly living
is something it never has and never will be able to manufacture.”Henry Beston
“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountains and the sea,
are excellent schoolmasters, and teach us more than we can ever learn from books.”John Lubbock
“It thus emerges that, for young people and adults alike, outdoor adventure is perceived as a vehicle for building values and ideals, for developing creativity and enterprise, for enhancing a sense of citizenship, and for widening physical and spiritual horizons”Lord Hunt of Llanfair Waterdine, KC, CBE, DSO
“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter; to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”– John Burroughs
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience”.– Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The wilderness holds answers to questions man has not yet learned to ask.”— Nancy Newhall
“Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water bugs, tadpoles, frogs, mud turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb. Brooks to wade, water lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hay fields, pine-cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets; and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of…education”-Luther Burbank
“Nature is man’s teacher. She unfolds her treasures to his search, unseals his eye, illumes his mind, and purifies his heart; an influence breathes from all the sights and sounds of her existence.”– Alfred Billings Street
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”– Albert Einstein
And one of my all time favorites:
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
— Rachel Carson
, *(Merlin-a free app by Cornell-College of Ornithology)