There are many obvious reasons to be inspired by nature: nature is the original creator, the origin of all things, the most effortless and gigantic inventor. Nature never tries to make anything—it just does—it’s inherent in nature’s definition, and its creations are simply beautiful at their base. You might call this effortless artistry. It is the design at the foundation of the universe, the planet, and every living thing.
But if I ask myself why nature continues to inspire me, day in and day out, it’s something more subtle, or perhaps more mundane—it’s that nature reminds me to pay attention and notice things.
No matter how busy you are, it’s hard to ignore the wind. No matter how frantic you are, it’s hard to ignore the rain, even if it makes you more frantic. No matter how depressed you are, it’s difficult to ignore that little spot of sunlight that’s beating down on you through a split in the trees, or the squirrel that keeps circling you on your lunch break.
Maybe we often don’t let the miracle in, but if we’re lucky, we let ourselves stop and listen to the leaves making their paper song in the wind, and in that moment, we can know that there is something happening that is so much bigger than our deadlines and dentist appointments. There’s something gigantic that is so beyond our days or our lives, or even our planet.
When I realize this, even subconsciously, I get to stop and smile to myself, and be thankful that I got to come to this moment, this place, and hear the leaves shaking in the breeze. Be thankful that I got to be a part of this giant dance—even if I am one small ant going about my day.
Sometimes I find it refreshing to not be able to control something, and nature is one of those things that will not and cannot be controlled. Even when we think we’re controlling it, there can be surprising effects, as we’re coming to find out with global warming. It’s good to be reminded of our own insignificance sometimes—it takes the pressure off our daily feats and reminds us to sit back and try to appreciate what we’re so humbled to get to experience in this one life.
I could now launch into all the ways that our neglect and un-appreciation of nature have led us to start abusing things and create problems in a beautiful system. How as individual little ants, we are insignificant, but as an un-caring swarm we have had a damaging effect, but we all know this from listening to the news.
In the end, I’m thankful that nature has made it possible for me to walk through this life and look at all of the wonders and curiosities, including my own body and the brain and fingers that are writing this, and I hope you’re able to experience this too. With issues like global warming looming, it’s hard to know what to do or how to help. I think appreciation and inspiration are good places to start.