There are many lessons to be learned from the natural world. Take, for example, trees. According to the book "The Trees Around Us", trees are vital to much of the life on earth. Forests cover almost one third of the land area of our planet. They help protect, sustain and improve mankind's supplies of fresh water. They purify the air and convert carbon dioxide, water, minerals and sunlight into nutrients and oxygen. Many plants, insects, fungi, worms and other organisms are dependent upon the shade, moisture and leaf debris provided by trees. Additionally, the environment provided by trees supports a wide variety of reptiles, birds, and mammals.
What life lessons can we, as humans, learn from trees?
1. Be flexible.
2. Value the little things.
3. Do not be intimidated by small beginnings.
4. Do not be afraid of change.
5. Practice teamwork.
6. Grow leadership.
7. Develop a value-system.
Yes, as Joyce Kilmer expressed it:
Additional learning points about trees:
Click here to see a visual presentation of what we can learn from Geese
I learnt from the sun
That light has to be spread,
The breeze taught me
How to be cool all the time
The trees inspired me to be colossal in giving
As I discovered serenity from water
And the vacuum made me understand
How to live with nothing around
The earth taught me how to nurture
The very people who trampled it
Fire made me realize the importance
Of being pure and yet involving
I learnt from space the virtue of
Being BIG and yet unassuming
For nature had all virtues a man needs to learn
In all its elements
Click HERE for a sermon delivered on August 13, 1871 by C.H. Spurgeon on the subject "Lessons From Nature."
Civilization no longer needs to open up wilderness; it needs wilderness to help open up the still largely unexplored human mind.
- David Rains Wallace
Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together.
In the jungles of South America there exists a parasitic plant that lives on the top of trees. It drops its seeds to the ground, where they sprout. The vine-like shoots are attracted to the darkness under a tree. From there, the vine climbs the tree trunk to the top, where it proceeds to sink its roots into the tree, eventually discarding the vine part. This process is repeated with each successive generation. What a fine example of perseverance and risk taking!
- Grant M. Bright
The earth has music for those who listen.
- William Shakespeare
Consider the iceberg, only 10% or less of which is visible to the eye. What we can easily see is only a small percentage of what is there. Similarly with many other things, what we can see is a small percentage of what is there or what is possible. Imagination is having the vision to see what is just below the surface; to picture that which is essential, but invisible to the eye.
- Grant M. Bright
Try to understand and trust abstractions. If you can learn to both see and believe in life's underlying patterns, you can make highly informed decisions every day.
- Nathan Myhrvold, CTO, Microsoft Corp
If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, God calls a butterfly!
- Diane Mashia
Eagles we are not, but we can still fly. Our imaginations becomes our wings. The magnificent eagle is still just an eagle, but we can soar as high and as far as our aspirations can take us.
Even caterpillars could fly if they would just lighten up.
When you go from being a caterpillar to becoming a butterfly, you're nothing more than a yellow gooey sticky mess.
- Ted Forbes
Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne
A butterfly must struggle to break out of its cocoon. But the struggle to emerge from the cocoon forces the fluid from the butterfly’s body into its wings - a necessary process for enabling it to fly.
- Charles C. Manz
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
- From the poem 'Lost' - David Wagoner
Certainly there is nothing commonplace about the vigorous, laughing, crystal-clear stream which has carved a remote, little known canyon through the heart of a desert mountain range.
- Weldon F. Heald
What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wilderness?
Let them be left,
Oh, let them be left, wilderness and wet;
Long live the woods and the wilderness yet.
- Gerard Manley Hopkins
Don't think there are no crocodiles because the water is calm.
- Malayan proverb
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
- Helen Keller
The trees that bend a little to the harmless breeze,
Will later grow to withstand the wild wind.
The richest values of wilderness lies not in the days of Daniel Boone nor even in the present, but rather in the future.
- Aldo Leopold
The desert holds a mystique, a subtle fascination, which is difficult to pinpoint and more difficult to describe. Not all people are so affected by it, but those who have experienced the desert in this way are the richer.
- Peggy Larson, The Deserts of the Southwest
Only the rocks live forever.
- James Michener, Centennial
The sun is always shining. Even though clouds may come along and obscure the sun for a while, the sun is always shining. The sun never stops shining. And even though the earth turns, and the sun appears to go down, it really never stops shining.
- Louise L. Hay
Is your life busy and full of activity? Are you blindly following someone else? You may be going nowhere! "Processionary" caterpillars follow one another. It's possible to have a long line of them following each other in a circle around a flower pot that contains their food. They may continue to march around the pot for hours, days, only to finally expire from exhaustion. Being busy and active means nothing if your activity is not centered on the most important things or if you are blindly following someone else.
- Grant M. Bright
Just as a sunbeam can't separate itself from the sun and a wave can't separate itself from the ocean; we can't separate ourselves from one another. We are all part of a vast sea of love one indivisible divine mind.
- Marianne Williamson
THE POISONOUS ROOT
If you have ever raised asparagus, you will understand the concept of a 'poisonous root.' You plant asparagus as a root. The first year it just lies there under the surface of the ground and you get the idea that maybe it has disappeared or died. But the second year, it comes springing up and you have your crop. Bitterness can lay seemingly dormant under the surface for months or years and then, suddenly, it springs up and takes over. The Bible warns about bitterness very clearly in several passages. In Hebrews 12:14-15, we read, "Pursue peace with all people...that no poisonous root (root of bitterness - KJV) may spring up and cause trouble and that many may not be defiled by it."
TAKE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN
A city dweller moved to a farm and bought a cow. Shortly after he did, the cow went dry. When he reported this fact to a neighbor farmer, the farmer expressed surprise. The city man said he was surprised too. "I can't understand it either, for if ever a person was considerate of an animal, I was of that cow. If I didn't need any milk, I didn't milk her. If I only needed a quart, I only took a quart." The farmer tried to explain that the only way to keep milk flowing is not to take as little as possible from the cow, but to take as much as possible. Is that not also true of life?
DRIVEN BY DEEP CURRENTS
In the frigid waters around Greenland are countless icebergs, some little and some gigantic. If you'd observe them carefully, you'd notice that sometimes the small ice floes move in one direction while their massive counterparts flow in another. The explanation is simple. Surface winds drive the little ones, whereas the huge masses of ice are carried along by deep ocean currents. When we face trials and tragedies, it's helpful to see our lives as being subject to two forces – surface winds and ocean currents. The winds represent everything changeable and unpredictable in the world that surrounds us including a multitude of bewildering opinions, theories, persuasions and philosophies. But operating simultaneously with these gusts and gales is another force that's even more powerful. It is the sure movement of a personal dedication to a set of underlying divine principles and values that do not change with the times and that run deeper and surer than the surface turmoil. We are wise to seek out such principles and let them guide and propel us forward.
COFFEE BEANS (You may never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.)
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as one problem was solved a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what do you see?" Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.
She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they got soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked. "What's the point, mother?"
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity--boiling water--but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.
"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"
A FARMER AND HIS SONS
A farmer, being on the point of death, wished to be sure that his sons would give the same attention to his farm as he himself had given it. He called them to his bedside and said, "My sons, there is a great treasure in one of my vineyards." The sons, after his death, took their spades and mattocks and carefully dug over every portion of their land. They found no treasure, but the vines repaid their labor by an extraordinary and superabundant crop.
|End of Quotes on "Lessons From Nature"|