“When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir
It’s easy to become removed from Nature; to become lost in virtual worlds as we work in our cities of metal and stone. It’s easy to forget how tightly bound we are to the world when our contact with it is limited to glimpses between buildings. Sometimes, as with many other things, it takes immersion to remind us. Recently, I was reminded of this by the sensory slap in the face that is Yosemite National Park.
One of my favorite singers is John Denver. Not only did he write some amazing songs, but he had a deep appreciation for the world he lived in. Most of his songs were, in some way, a tribute to the majesty of Nature and the sense of awe he experienced when observing it. Even as a kid, I felt like we were kindred spirits, so much so that I was reduced to tears when he died in a plane crash a couple months before my tenth birthday. I still love his music and think of it whenever I visit places which leave me speechless. I let the melodies linger in my mind as I open my senses to whatever my surroundings send my way, and I listen. I learn.
I’ve found that Nature, when observed closely, has much to teach us about life.
Yosemite is a place carved by the brute forces of Nature. The scale of everything is mind-blowing, and it’s just a little scary to think of the forces required to shape such a landscape. Even after the violence of its sculpting, Yosemite is brimming with life forms which have adapted to it. The world is a harsh place, full of obstacles and forces which beat at us. Life isn’t an easy thing for most–it is a struggle. But through that struggle comes strength. We adapt, we change, we twist and reach for the sun with every fiber of our being. Like the wind-warped trees growing throughout Yosemite Valley, we claw out a place in this world and we thrive.
How about you? Is there a place you’ve visited which has been so stunning you’ve been forced to reflect? What did you think about? Share your thoughts in the comments below!