Look, it’s like this, Nature pointed to herself and suddenly the entire universe made unspeakable sense.
In the wildness of the deep woods, nature teaches me with an effortless flourish. Teachings are illustrated in one single sight, which might otherwise take piles of books and endless talk to explain, all with less effect.
One single sight in nature, studied with ample attention, could contain all the lessons one might ever need.
One small square of the forest floor, with its bustling society of selfless insects; one old log, at once full of decay and new growth — one phase of life inextricably tied to the other. One creature’s baby, another’s lunch — no wrong or right. Just a fact of life. Just existence. One corner of the night sky, with endless depth, making this life feel small and positively inconsequential.
In one vignette, simple yet rich with meaning and potent with wisdom, I learn that wildness is the nature of all things — even me, my mind, my modern life. It tells me softly, but unapologetically, that all things are constantly changing.
Even where stillness is apparent, the invisible winds are moving the weather all the time. Grey sky, white sky. Smoke sky, cloud sky. Then new sky, blue sky. On and on.
The days pass without consent or regard, the sun moves across the sky, the angle of light shifts, shadows stretch and bow, and light fades into the night. Everything is subject to change.
There is a kindness in this air. Nature sends this message: You belong, all of what you’re feeling, belongs. Nothing is wrong or broken here. This storm and this change are natural. Even the breaking down and ending and ageing and sickness and sorrow. It all belongs here. Just as new beginnings and youth and health and joy belong too. It’s all a part of being human. There’s nothing personal here.
This is a release from being the central figure in the story, around which everything is tied to, personally, painfully. The whole mess softens, detangles, uncoils around my ankles. The story is still heard, like a record playing in the background, but it recedes into the hubbub of life. The story carries on, and I observe it at a safe distance, with mild interest, but there is less concern about what will happen. For something always does. And it’s not all about me.
I remember all this now. But of course I will forget. I always do. For even remembering is subject to change. Nothing is exempt.
Still, I stubbornly close my eyes and I whisper to myself. Remember this. Nothing is permanent, and nothing is personal. Nothing is perfect either, including my remembering, my learning, my understanding. So I let go of that hope too.
And I feel a bit more free. At least for now.