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Reflections on Nature

In an event of sheer serendipity, I happened to stumble across the transcendental authors during my early teenage years; works by such prolific writers as Channing, Emerson, Fuller, and Thoreau. It was this occasion that brought forth from me a deep appreciation for nature, as if in reading Walden, or The Battle of the Ants, provided me with the necessary outline to see just how interconnected we are with everything, as the Greeks postulated in the great chain of being. I consider them some of the most profound educators for this reason, for education in latin means to lead out, which is exactly what they did for me in this regards. The causation of this experience was, from that point on, as my parents would take our family trips to our cabin in Tahoe, that I would retreat to the nature trail just beyond their house, with my pen and journal with me, and hike to a rock that gave me a truly majestic view of nothing man-made.

As I sat upon God’s rock, as I ended up calling it for it’s ability to bring me to the essence of the divine, I began to understand more completely the ancient words of wisdom which spoke of how retreats into nature brought out this capacity in ourselves. This was achieved as I marveled in the way that the sea of trees, namely that of a compilation of Jeffery, Ponderosa, and Sugar Pines cascaded down from that mountainside to meet with such powerful force with the deep vibrant royal blue of the lake in the basin below, only to ascend once more with the overwhelming crash of the same type of forest-green and dirt-brown mountain side which lie on the opposite side of that magnificent body of water. It was as a flock of blue jays matching the color of the heavens flew above that I was able to see the oneness, unity, and continuity of it all, and I could just envision all the people that must be on the surface of that lake, and all the types of fish below it that inhabited those water, and it made me consider the impact that each microcosm, or macrocosm for that matter, had on one another.

My attention as I did so, was then drawn to the humming noise that came from a bumble bee that had landed right besides my hand; somewhat of a natural disposition of mine, when considering how hyper-allergenic I am to these creatures. Despite this fact, it bothered me none nonetheless. However, I began to reflect on the comments made by Charles Darwin, regarding how, “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man,” as he had made in, The Origins of the Species. This notion was one that had been all of the buzz as of lately at the various universities in the area, as a result of the rapid decline noted in the bee’s population.

Now, as this occurred to me, my thoughts turned once more, like the leaflet of a book, which is also composed from the vast complexities of nature. I found it interesting how, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and countless others including the likes of Thoreau, made their discoveries as a result of retreating into the solace that only nature provides. The entire pedagogy of Transcendentalism for that matter, came from the quintessence of nature, and as for Newton, he gained more insight into the subject of gravity from sitting aside an apple tree, than most people could care to fathom in a lifetime. Similarly, even Buddha discovered the true essence of enlightenment, as he reached that state of nirvana as he meditated at the base of a tree. Perhaps it’s for this very reason that differing references from different contexts associate the tree with knowledge and wisdom.

As I mused all of this over, the climate of my reflections on nature shifted slightly, as I considered a place which was some 188 miles from my location, that was also a frequented spot in my upbringing; namely that of the beautiful Fog City, that is better known as San Fransisco. As a result of it grand peninsula that extends into the majestic sea, and its well known Golden Gate stretching across just before the continuous hills that those native to the area are familiar with in their late night drives, one could say that it matches, and even marvels the majestic nature provide atop a mountain in Tahoe, if it weren’t for one thing.

The most common observation when entering the limits of this bustling town, arguably, is that of the thick layer of black smog that hovers above the city-goers below. Its even worse to imagine the similar phenomenon taking place in China, where the Golden City gets approximately twenty-nine percent of these carbon emissions from. This one microcosm alone, of great magnitude no less, located in this land-ruby along the coastline in California, exemplifies to a frightening degree as to why we should be concerned about climate change, and the impact we have on it. But, for some reason, we still question it, and all for the sake of pecuniary emulation, how sad.

Unfortunately, this is not the only great tragedy inflicted upon nature under the name of this endeavor. All throughout the world the life bearing oxygen giants that are trees, are being all but diminished as a result of deforestation, in what should be called other than a genocide of the trees. From space, the scars of the earth from which we have uprooted these sacred plants can be seen from such places as Honduras, Nigeria, and Benin, just to name a few.

Right then, the snapping of some branches, brought my focus back to my immediate surroundings, as I saw Bambi, or rather a deer, stop dead in her tracks, as she caught sight of me from an opening just ahead. I guess it came as no surprise, considering that this place is home to them, and it made me ponder how many other incalculable number of species resided alongside that mountain-top.

Even so, as I prepared myself to head back home from my little retreat into nature, I contemplated over the inherent qualities of Mother Nature, come as she is, and was intrigued by what I found. As I thought about it, I was quite sure that that was not a field of study known to man, which can not be found in nature. For instance, looking at the various shapes and forms around you, with a keen eye, one can even find fractals, and all the shapes of Geometry, and yet interestingly enough, it seems as if there is not a straight line to be found; I wonder what that says about parallel lines? But it extends beyond just sacred Geometry, the elements Physics can be found in the vast space of a forest, and in the light that interconnects all things, and so too is the case with sheer gravity in the case of the fallen leaf. Or, at night, one can get lost in the wonders of Astronomy, while also learning all the need of Biology, or Anthropology for that matter in the wildlife, and the various elements that surround them; all the while one can ponder what it all means, thus gaining first hand experience into the nature of philosophy. Not only this, but it seems that the essence of nature, at its core, is that of creation. The tree, while firmly rooted in its, still demonstrates the capacity for growth, as it extends its branches into the heavens, forevermore, and in most cases, outlives the average human lifespan, sometimes two times over. Also, despite the trees grounded position, a pine-cone, an acorn, or whatever it is that is the fruit in which the tree bears, falls to the forest floor, and the byproduct of this process, are the multitude of trees that surround it; in this way, the pine cone, or the acorn is in reality, the forest. Even more importantly however, is that through the process of photosynthesis, so to does nature provide us with the necessary currency which is most essential for life. What I find most interesting, of all of this, is that the human species, a byproduct of nature, and eons of evolution, has the tenacity that it does for war, corruption, deforestation, polluting both the environment and climate, and other such characteristics that are synonymous with decay and destruction. I guess the Greeks were right in the theories of how destruction breeds creation, and vice versa; I only hope that in the years to come, we can, as a collective whole, evolve past this part of our very own nature.

(C) Aaron M. Weis