Look deep into Nature, and then you will understand everything better. – Albert Einstein
Sometimes, I forget that the earth delights to feel my bare feet, and the winds long to play with my hair. I forget that outside, out there in the mountains, rivers, hills, falls, forests, caves, fields – out there is where I truly belong. I especially forget that when I am too busy at work with barely any time to even take a stroll to Chania River. I forget. But then again, human is wired to forget.
We look up to the skies and think: ‘Oh wow! The moon looks amazing tonight’ ‘The stars are dazzling’ ‘Oh! How beautifully the sun rises and sets.’ It is easy to see the magic when we look up. But then again, we forget that heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. I miss feeling the ground on my feet. Experiencing mother earth sway me around and about and then nothing else matters other than that moment. I miss being out in Nature, two months without it, and I have been going crazy.
To be honest, I feel like the COVID-19 break, in as much as it was much needed for most of us, it was blinding to the reality of life. Nine months of free time, I have to come to learn, can make forget how intense and busy daily life can sometimes get. I had so much free time to hike and run and just be outdoors, and now I barely have time even to visit a coffee farm near me.
We stayed home so long, that we forgot how draining life can actually get. In those nine months, I seem to have forgotten what it means to have a work-life balance. By teaching or working online, we still had so much freedom on our hands. Getting back to the real essence of the work field, some of us might actually need therapy. No kidding!
Both seasons have taught tough lessons, but all equally important. Going back to work and not being able to do the things I so dearly love as I used to in those nine months has taught me that there is so much more to learn about life. So many adult things to do and relentless growth to be borne.
I believe in God; only I spell it Nature – Frank Lloyd Wright.
Being unable to hike or just be in Nature these two months has really messed with my system, and I am starting to feel it. I have felt my mental state and physical health fickle away as fast as a popsicle melts from a stick. It has also taught me important lessons. This period has taught me that you actually need a work-life balance if you want to remain interconnected with Nature. This period taught me that even the slightest slip could cause emotional, economic, and physical damage.
To flourish, taking care of your body and health goes without requisite. Maintaining your mentals requires that your economical and physical parameters are also in order. For you to keep living this life with the same light of hope in your eyes, you have to come face to face with the things that eat you inside. You have to address your traumas, make tough decisions on life decisions you consider crucial, and accept that such, where you are in this moment, such is life.
I have learned that food and Nature are your best remedies, but only you adhere to them with discipline. I slipped from my healthy lifestyle, and I have been feeling and paying for the consequences. Let’s just say lethargy can be such a bitch!
I forgot how important a plate of lettuce and Chinese cabbage was for my health. I forgot how a salad of cucumber and beetroots put me in the right mood. Sometimes, we stray from our healthy habits because of festivities or friends, but then when we fail to snap out of it, our bodies turn against us. My body turned against me.
In the past two weeks, I have been feeling as though I wasn’t in my own body. Pain and weakness have a way of accelerating depression and other hidden emotions. It has a weird way of breaking you not only physically but also emotionally. You also learn a lot more when you are on sick leave. Matter of fact, you get to uncover things you wish remained buried.
Adopt the pace of Nature: her secret is patience – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Patience! The nine letter word we keep ignoring. One of the most important virtues, and yet somehow, we miss the essence of it. I went camping last weekend and did a forest stroll yesterday, both times, I watched Nature and learned that really Nature works at a pace of patience.
What happens now happens now. There is no anticipation of what is to come later or tomorrow. Everything in Nature, well apart from humans, work on the dynamics of the present moment. Each moment graced with patience undefined by time.
It can get really dark sometimes, especially when you don’t have an outlet. It gets even darker if you have to keep face and maintain the façade of a “strong person,” and it gets way darker when you feel like you have no one to turn to. Darkness has a way of making you do things out of your element. Even when you are screaming for help, you can’t seem to get it.
We get these feelings. Feelings that want to explode out of your eyes, your teeth, and sometimes we look for ways to concentrate these feelings, like a release. But temporary solutions only make us feel better for just a fraction of time, and then we are back where we started. You feel like the air tastes different and not just because it is polluted. Like there is no ease in peace and no silence in solitude, and that’s when it gets heavy.
In every walk with Nature, one receives far more than he seeks – John Muir.
I needed an outlet, I needed Nature. I needed healing, I needed Nature. I needed love, I needed Nature. I needed to learn forgiveness, so I sought Nature. I needed to learn pure love, so I studied Nature and her ways. And I have come to learn that truly, I am not much without her. I always go to Nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in order.
So, after a week of ill health and mental instability, I went camping. The week after, I was still sick and unstable, so I went to Karura forest. It is not so much for its beauty that Karura makes a claim upon my heart, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews my weary spirit. It here, where I get an inclining of life. New life, Fresh air, new hopes, and aspirations.
For most of history, man has had to fight Nature to survive; in this century, he is beginning to realize that, to survive, he must protect it – Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
I have been in a bad place; it gets worse when I can’t feel nor touch or be in Nature. But, I find that you can always go back and feel alive. You can always go back to Nature and remember why or how you’re living this life and what for. You can always go back and learn love and pass it back to those who give it to you freely. You can always get back and get some air into your weak flesh and bones. You can always go back and remember why the past shouldn’t affect your beautiful present. You can always go back and realize what’s for you and what’s not. Mahatma Gandhi was right; “To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil to forget ourselves.”
However, even though going to the forest was geared towards replenishing myself, it wasn’t until I walked into a swarm of bees that I realized how inconsistent life and time were.
Don’t get me wrong, those stings hurt. And I still have subtle swellings on my face, but it was understanding that those honey bees were headed for death just for stinging me. It was like Nature’s way of telling me, “Yeah, get off your high horse and party!”
Like Joseph Campbell, my goal in life has always been to make my heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to march my Nature with Nature. So when I start to feel lethargic, unwell, lazy, unhealthy, unbalanced, and unstable, I go back to Nature to remind myself of my goal. You see – Nature teaches more than she preaches. There are no sermons in stones. It is easier to get a spark out of a stone than a moral, and for me, that’s the point.
So, in memory of the poor honey bees that stung me, I intend to adopt the pace of Nature with patience. To be in more agreement with Nature even when I’m so tied down by work to be in her presence for ling barely. To use whatever talents I possess because even the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best and to let the rain kiss me. Let the rain beat upon my head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing me a lullaby because Nature is loved best by what is best in us.
I want to live like a solitary tree because when it grows at all, it grows strong. You see, the world is not to be put in order because the world is in order. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order. The sunshine is delicious, the rain refreshing, the wind braces us up, there is no such thing as an imperfect world or bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. The poetry of the earth will never die, and I choose to thrive in that.
In loving memory of these bees who lost their lives for me, I intend to plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love because that’s the law of Nature – it comes back in abundance. I will resist the urge to judge every day by the harvest I reap but by the seeds I plant. I will allow Nature to have her way because clearly, she understands her business better than I do. In memory of these bees, I want to laugh in flowers like the earth laughs in flowers.