Growing up in Wyoming and spending much of my time outdoors, I learned there are many things Mother Nature can teach us. When I was younger, I mostly played outside and was fortunate enough to live near Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, where my family and I would occasionally go for picnics. As a result of being immersed in the outdoors from a young age, I discovered all of the wonderful things Mother Nature can teach us. Many of the lessons I learned came from observation as well as from my parents and teachers. Since I believe Mother Nature has many lessons to give us, I would like to share a few of the lessons I have learned.
1. Don’t Overplant
In biology class I was taught that the soil provides nutrients to the plants, but over time the soil can become depleted. This is why historically farmers practiced crop rotation. They would let one field lay fallow to allow the nutrients to get back into the soil. You may be wondering what crop rotation and soil depletion has to do with life. Just like the soil can become overplanted, people can become overworked. Taking on too much and never allowing yourself enough time to rest will leave you feeling depleted. It can even result in illness, which is why it is very important to give yourself time to replenish your energy every so often. I admit I was not very good at doing this in college, and over time I became burned out. However, I now listen to my body and give myself rest time when I need it. Allowing our bodies to rest and recuperate from our busy lives is one of the most important things Mother Nature can teach us, but there are plenty of other lessons as well.
2. Change is Inevitable
In nature everything changes. If you live in a temperate climate, you can watch the leaves turn green in the summer, yellow, orange, and red in the autumn, and fall off in the winter. No matter where you live, you can witness the weather change, sometimes hourly. All of this points to the fact that nothing stays the same in nature, and the same is true in life. Since change in nature and in life is inevitable, the best thing you can do is embrace change and look at the exciting prospects it brings.
3. Green is Great
Speaking of summer and green leaves, don’t you just find it refreshing when the leaves turn green after a long winter? I always enjoy seeing the new green leaves on the trees and walking through the lush green grass. The green colors in nature are symbolic of life and renewal. As beautiful as the green leaves in nature are to look at, the green leafy vegetables that grow in the ground are even healthier to eat. Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, beet greens, and Swiss chard are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. Take advantage of these healthy green vegetables that Mother Nature has to offer and eat them often.
4. Small Things Are Important
Everything in nature is important and has a purpose. Seeds may be incredibly small, but without them plants would not grow and we would not have healthy produce to eat or beautiful trees to sit under. Learning that small things in nature are important can help you realize that enjoying the little things is what makes life special. For example, simple sunrises, a hug from a loved one, or eating a meal with your family are all things that make life wonderful. None of these things are big or expensive, but all of them make life worth living.
5. Relinquish Control
Being in control provides people with a sense of security. However, no one ever has total control. You can plan extensively, but no matter how much you plan and try, you have no control over how things turn out. The best thing you can do is relinquish the need to be in control. Of course, you should be responsible and take steps to work towards goals, but you can do these things with the understanding that life can be unpredictable. Unpredictability is true in nature as well. We can’t predict exactly how a storm will act; all we can really do is wait until it passes. Where the storm goes and how it acts are out of our control.
One morning on a camping trip with my dad I saw a little ant carrying a crumb of food past the camp fire. Out of curiosity, my dad and I decided to follow the ant to see where it went. For the next ten to fifteen minutes we watched this ant slowly making its way to the ant hill. It had to stop to pick the food up every so often, and it was clearly challenging for this little ant to make it so far. Yet, watching this ant was watching persistence in action. This little creature never gave up, and eventually his or her persistence paid off. Even before watching this ant I had always believed in being persistent, and I still do. Persistence and determination are qualities that will allow you to achieve just about anything.
Curiosity is one of nature’s best teachers. By being curious I learned that ants are incredibly persistent creatures. While that is an example of my own inquisitive nature, there are many examples of animals being curious. Of course, cats provide some of the best and funniest examples of curiosity. My own cat once jumped into a very deep hamper out of curiosity only to become stuck. Naturally, she learned to stay out of that particular hamper! Being curious is a wonderful thing, you learn things and it keeps life interesting.
Although there are many great lessons to be learned inside of a classroom, some of the best lessons come from Mother Nature. I have learned so many things by spending time outdoors and observing nature. All of the life lessons I have learned from Mother Nature have been so helpful. I hope they are helpful to you. What lessons have you learned from Mother Nature?