The University of Mother Nature

Spring sunshine and brilliant blue skies are the order of the day as I stare out the kitchen window waiting for the kettle to finish boiling water for tea. Already, the six-room house I had installed for feathered guests up on the hill is a kaleidoscope of fluttering wings as a host of sparrows move in and prepare their nests. It’s a delight to witness nature’s allegiance to new life.

I write about nature a lot because I think about nature a lot. As I’ve entered a more contemplative stage of my life, I find peace and clarity in the outdoors. Hiking in the woods or walking the country roads in our neighborhood over and over again, has taught me to pay attention, to expect magic, and to trust life even when the world feels unsettling and unsafe.

Mother Nature has reliable rhythms, instinctual patterns that can be trusted, and an extraordinary ability to adapt to change.

Just last week while hiking in the park near our home, I stopped, once again, to admire a giant maple tree with three twisted trunks. Standing proud by the river, she looked like a graceful dancer having learned to bend to the strong winds coming from the Northeast.

Every time I visit I’m reminded to yield more, to flow with the movement of life rather than against it, to let go of control and trust that things will work out without my having to butt in all the time.

Nature is a university filled with simple wisdom about what it takes to live well. Howling winds that remove dead limbs from trees, waterways that carve new paths through earth and stone, or tiny hummingbirds who return to feast on favorite flowers become fierce and fragile messengers. Clear out the old, says the wind. Stay the course, declares the river, especially when something is hard but important. Return to what feeds you say the hummingbird, and enjoy every drop.

As I watch the tiny sparrows flitting from branch to branch above their new home, I think about feathering my own nest. I’m off to look at plants for the garden that will soon come to life in our backyard.

I wonder what Mother Nature has taught you?





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Author Information

Cheryl Richardson

Cheryl Richardson is the New York Times bestselling author of several books including, Take Time for Your LifeLife MakeoversStand Up for Your LifeThe Unmistakable Touch of GraceThe Art of Extreme Self Care, You Can Create an Exceptional Life with Louise Hay, and her new book, Waking Up in Winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife.

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