“Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal, and transformation in our lives.” -Mary Ann Brussat.
Nature In Our Lives
I first read this quote early in the year from a fellow photographers book; Natural Inspirations, Images and Insights by Ray Scott. Ray’s book is no longer available so I am not able to provide a link to it. There are many wonderful quotes in Ray’s book and there is a good chance more will influence me if I allow them. Words are funny that way, they all have meaning but serve no purpose unless we want them to. I’m writing about the words we hear or read not necessarily the words we say. For example this post will be filled with only words to those who read it unless they allow the words to have an actual influence in how they may either think or act effecting one or both.
Brussat’s quote seemed to be only words until I read it again just recently and something happened. It had a different meaning to me. For me it’s a understanding, as if a different synapses just fired in my brain that held a deeper more insightful thought. I’m not sure how else to describe this “something different”. The translation of that electrical impulse that took place manifested as a realization. Our life’s are literally filled with growth, renewal and transformations most often times on a daily basis. What is the baseline that helps to measure these growths, renewals and transformations? Is it strictly just human, do we compare ourselves to only our self or only to others? One would initially think yes. I can only compare myself to another of the same specie for it make any sense. This may be true in the laboratory but life is much more than a laboratory of controlled conditions. It holds conditions that we have no control over and must anticipate or react to.
I think for many who choose to live a primarily nature-less life where most of their time is spent within the confines of man made interiors or exteriors may not have much else than others to compare themselves to. The interaction with nature is remote and the connection mostly non existent.
Nature can be experienced in many forms, from a stream in the local park to the wilds of Patagonia the only difference is the amount within sight and thus the size of the mirror, referring back to Brussat’s quote. To draw an example lets imagine holding a small mirror and attempting to examine our self . It could be done but you would never see the whole picture only parts and pieces needing to image what the whole looks like. Compare that to standing in front of a full length mirror to view yourself. What you see reflecting back from both mirrors is the exact same thing but the view and overall understanding is mostly non-comparable.
It was this realization that developed in my mind as I read the quote. The question of do we really know the effect of nature and how we compare to it. What if nature was the baseline in which we measure our growth, renewal and transformations. What if our growth was directly linked to the growth of nature. Could it be possible that the growth of nature is directly attributed to the growth of human and the human growth is directly contributed to the growth of nature. What about renewal and transformation could the same be true as well.
As nature changes so do we. We adjust and adapt to live within our natural world. Can the same be said of nature? As humans change does nature adjust and adapt to live within our world? The answer is obvious, it has no choice, adapt or die and in many instances the latter has been the case.
Is nature the mirror that we must be holding up to examine ourselves? Are we not so vain to realize the direct link between the stream in our parks and the person looking back at us in the mirror. Both are transforming in hopes of growth and renewal.
Nature by its very nature is complex, there is nothing simple about the formation of natural things. Without making this a scientific documentary simply think about the formation of a rock or dirt, the very soil under our feet every day of our lives. Is that simple? There is an experience that happens when one is in nature, a mind and body experience that is not of confusion due to this complexity but transforming due to it. It is how the growth and renewal begins not by forcing it’s complications onto one but by removing them and replacing complications with connections. Connections to the soil, air, plant and animal life, the world in which we are part of. This connection is what many speak of and is told in countless stories of “connecting with the land”. It can not be described, read about or portrayed in media form. Sometimes it can’t even be experienced when experiencing it. But with time, understanding and acceptance it happens.
There is mounting evidence, from dozens and dozens of researchers, that nature has benefits for both physical and psychological human wellbeing. – American Phycological Association