It’s known to fade, but it also spreads. It’s intoxicating. It’s awakening. It’s delicious. It’s inspiring. It’s breathtaking. It’s amazing. It’s awesome. It’s porous. And its most valuable characteristic is that it’s self-perpetuating. No, I’m not talking about human beauty and addiction to plastic surgery. I’m talking about the beauty of the natural world. It’s the answer to all of our problems. Yes, every single one. I won’t back down on that, but that’s a whole other blog, or three or four.
There is no dearth of natural beauty in our universe. There is only a glaring unconsciousness. Out of that unconsciousness breeds the cancerous ugliness of life, in all of its forms. We Google natural beauty and view it on You Tube. We forward PowerPoints of it to our friends. We pin it on Pinterest. We photograph it. We paint, sketch, and draw it. We appreciate it. But we don’t do it enough! We don’t stop and smell those proverbial roses nearly enough. And unfortunately, that deficit doesn’t just affect us, it affects our entire world.
Nature retreats, and the songs of the natural world are known to change the brain chemistry of those searching for healing or freedom from the demons in their minds. Give a prisoner a course in the art of bonsai, seeds to plant, or a garden to tend, and soften his/her heart. The butterfly effect is real.
Life is neither light or darkness, it is both. The beauty is not absent in the darkness. It’s simply unseen. Only because of the light are we able to discern the beauty in the darkness. Life is ugly and devastating and beautiful and enriching. How can we observe the mystical, magical, complex natural world and not marvel at its wonderous exquisiteness and how it all works? How can we recognize the intricacies of the web of life on our planet and think that there is not a yin for each yang, a symbiotic dance partner for each and every organism, microscopic or gargantuan, a solution for every problem, somewhere in the universe, hidden in the ever-changing tapestry of beauty that surrounds us.
As the grandparent of a 4-year-old, I believe our hope for the future lies within her and her generation. I believe that by exposing her to the beauty of the natural world, as much as I can and in as many ways as I can, I’m doing my best to be a steward of the planet and an investor in the future of humanity. I reason that the more she appreciates the beauty of the natural world, the more she will protect it. The more times I lie on the beach and look at the clouds with her or ask her to close her eyes and listen to the gulls and the crashing waves, the more I take her outside to study the stars, and listen to the cicadas, the more I bend down and help her marvel at the creature world surrounding her feet, the more likely it is that she will grow up and strive to make the world a better place.
Where you live can not even be a consideration when it comes to finding and viewing natural beauty. If it’s not popping out of the crack in the sidewalk, or viewable out your window, pull it up on the Internet. Wherever you are, seek it out. Make it a point to find and gaze upon at least one beautiful natural thing a day. Spend a minute truly thinking about it. Feel it in your heart. Let it speak to your soul. It will reside with you, but you don’t have to give it up to share it with someone else. It will not be diminished. It will multiply. Pass it on. Pay it forward. In doing so you’ll be making the world a more beautiful place, today and tomorrow, one soul at a time.
Peace and Love