This week I’m posting the first of a series of ideas of how Nature teaches us about life. You don’t have to be a scientist to see the connections that Nature shares with humanity. In fact, you don’t have to even believe in God to see it. You just have to observe.
Take, for example, trees. As with all plants, a tree’s root system is the heart of the tree. Though we only see the trunk, branches and leaves, an entire root system remains unseen, nourishing and taking care of the tree.
Humans are much the same way. Though we have a body that can be seen, our interior well being is at the heart of our growth. What we learn about life, love and living comes from our internal taking in of the world around us.
The next observation we make about the root system of trees is the method by which they take in minerals and water to survive. If soil is rich in nutrients, then the tree’s roots reach out and take in the food. Roots grow and multiply quickly. Trees respond the same with water. Trees’ roots go out in search for water. Tap roots burrow way below searching for water to keep it alive. When it finds water, other roots follow the tap root, multiply and branch even deeper and further out. But when a tree cannot find water or nutrients, the roots ball up on each other and get lost. The tree withers and either dies or is stunted.
Humans work the same way as trees in this respect…and not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. If the family, community and world in which we live is rich in love, emotional safety and experience, our interior roots reach out and take in as much as possible. We learn, grow, and flourish in that environment. However, if we are “stunted” by lack of love, safety and experience, our “roots” ball up on themselves. Outwardly we look tired, worn and sullen. Inwardly we feel broken.
Winter is a unique season for trees. Though most of the root growth takes place in June and July, the tree does not go completely dormant over winter. Though the leaves fall off and photosynthesis is no longer predominant, the tree still searches for water and nutrients to survive. In fact, studies show that root growth continues steady when the tree can find warmth and water in the soil.
I now understand why the cherry tree closest to our house has grown the largest among all the trees that were planted at the same time! The warmth of the pipes underground and our house kept the root system growing without need to shut down because the soil was frozen.
Here again, that physical warmth can be compared to the emotional and spiritual warmth we seek in those winter times of our lives. If the “soil” (or environment) around us is frozen, we can’t move and grow either. Our growth depends on our ability to intake warmth and water as well.
In the beginning of this post I suggested that you don’t need to believe in God to see the way humans and nature intertwine. While that is true, I believe that the Truth of God enlightens and fulfills our lives in a robust way because God creates nature with us in mind. I believe the idea that we are random or by accident is far from the truth. In fact, there is symbiosis with all of life. We have to be willing to use more than just our eyes to see it. Connections between nature and humans can be found everywhere.
We are created with body, mind and spirit…no matter what religion you believe. So why not embrace that entire being with the comprehension that there is more to life than what we can see? And perhaps, there’s more than what we can understand…