Learning from Nature

June 22, 2017
By Anonymous

After a heavy rain pounded the dripping wet floors, the air was fresh with radiant coolness and life from the juicy waters flowed into the gorgeous flora. I was in Switzerland, traveling with my family for three weeks, and learned valuable life lessons from my stay. In particular, the renewal that came with the depressing rain shower inspired me to ponder about nature’s divine timing. With the emergence of Internet-based communication systems, individuals are increasingly looking for rapid results, shortening their attention spans. However, nature teaches us to be patient and calm, reflective and aware. For example, nursing a nascent sapling into a fully-grown tree doesn’t happen instantaneously—similarly, only consistent and gradual labor produces satisfaction. Being cognizant of these underlying forces that shape nature—and ourselves—is highly essential for progress.

Just like how a river veers off its course and cascades rapidly into a waterfall, nature’s versatility offers valuable insight into the importance of being flexible. While I was hiking in the Jungfrau area, ominous, black clouds protruded from the sky and the heavens split open—bullets of rain pelted my family relentlessly and we were forced to seek shelter in a rustic, wooden cabin. The unexpected misfortune thwarted my goal of reaching a lake; nevertheless, it was necessary for me to know my limits and scan the area for protection from potential electrocution. This seemingly trivial, yet immensely important anecdote illustrates the need for humans to respect their bodies’ natural boundaries and remain at homeostasis. When I was in cross country, I trained avidly at the cost of my heart’s health, eventually crashing in the hospital. A year later after my trip, I’ve successfully reached an epiphany: my disregard for my own body reflects the broader blindness I’ve had toward respecting nature. Up until recently, I didn’t even think about recycling—however, my efforts at self-improvement, specifically toward becoming more globally aware and compassionate, inspired me to begin the simple task (which had far-reaching implications).

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, nature instills a remarkable sense of serenity that refreshes and rejuvenates our souls. In junior year of high school, I almost burned out—not only did I juggle AP courses and SAT preparation, but also I faced a mental health issue. After constantly working and studying intensely for nearly 12 hours a day, I needed time to relax and release my stress into a productive outlet. The crisp, fresh air of Mount Pilatus offered that optimal amount of relief—for the first time that year, I felt at ease, even liberated by the soothing presence of the brightly-colored butterflies fluttering around me. I certainly observed this tranquility in the village of Murren, where mankind and nature harmonized and coexisted. Vehicles manned by tourists were prohibited in the area, so there was little pollution and plenty of wild fauna nearby. The hospitality of the locals and their general joviality sprinkled precious bits of happiness in my life, and that moment of contentment will forever remain in my memory.

The author's comments:

Although I did not enter in the Goi Peace Foundation essay contest, I decided to write a response to their prompt.

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