We Can Learn from Nature

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Learning from the World We Live in

Nature has always been humanity's greatest teacher. From the earliest nomads to modern idealists, the great outdoors has shared its wisdom, its fruits gathered through time, and mankind has benefited greatly from this knowledge.

While man has become less reliant on his natural environment, nature has gone on. The lessons are still there. They are lessons learned only from experiencing nature for ourselves.

Yes, we can learn the importance of nature to man, and other ideals, but to actually learn what nature is, one has to be willing to immerse themselves in it. Whether that be a visit to a nearby woods or watching out a window that overlooks one's backyard, it makes no difference. It is the greatest lesson nature has to offer - that one must be willing to venture outside themselves to learn and grow.

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There's a man-made pond, where a frog (pictured at right) lives. It's been living there for several years now, and it's a dangerous place for a frog. There are predators both mammal and avian that threaten its existence and the lives of the other frogs that live in the pond. There are certainly safer places for a frog to live.

But this particular pond draws an abundance of insect life, the sort that makes young frogs grow into magnificent specimens, like the one pictured in its rocky hideaway. It's a paradise for the frog, though it comes with a price. Cats, raccoons, hawks, herons, and kingfishers visit the pond. Sometimes, a young frog is taken, and all are reminded that not everything goes right all the time - not even in paradise.

There's a cost that comes from living in nature, and the frog knows this all too well. It spends its time lazing on lily pads and swimming in the green water, but it also climbs onto a stony perch, protected on all sides by rock, and watches the pond. It observes the green waters and tall cattails, and it undoubtedly learns from the experience, because the frog is a good watcher, a good listener. These are the traits that make the frog good at living in the pond, and its willingness to employ those traits in life are what make life good for it.

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Nature's Lesson Against Standing Still

Many people, perhaps when they were children, stopped what they were doing and watched ants. Ants are common in most parts of the world, and they seem to enjoy urban life as much as rural, so they're visible to most people. Anyone that's spent time watching ants will notice one primary trait in each - the seeming will to work endlessly. It's not often they stand still - try taking a picture of one sometime!

Some might say ants do well to keep moving. They're small, and any bird or reptile could come along and eat them. But the reason they're always moving is because they're always working. They're gathering food or material that will help their ant communities. It's unlikely ants ever die of starvation - they simply wouldn't stop searching until they found something to eat. They'd more likely die of exhaustion first.

Humans and ants are very different, of course. We spend much of our time using our minds instead of our physical bodies. Still, the ant is a mentor to man, like the frog. Its will, strength, and determination are unmatched. Anteaters might destroy their homes and kill half their number, and they'll rebuild. They'll reproduce and replenish their numbers.

They are a tiny species in a world of giants, but the ant has the work ethic and indomitable spirit that has allowed it to survive - no thrive - for millions of years. And the lesson we learn from ants, by observing them in nature, is that tenacity pays off. They've thrived for so long because they're tireless in their efforts to keep their place in the animal kingdom, no matter what odds are stacked against them.

It's not hard to imagine man, throughout time, looking to the ant for inspiration, when times got tough.

Our Path Follows Nature's

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Another important lesson man has learned from the great outdoors, through careful observation and study over many centuries, is that we are dependent upon it, no matter how far we isolate ourselves from it. The plant and animal kingdoms that thrive, when mankind leaves them be for awhile, are at the heart of what man is. It would have been so much easier to forget nature if we didn't look and behave like nature's own life.

We are just as much a part of nature as it is a part of us. The more modern the times, the less likely it is we will develop a stance of learning from nature in our lifetimes. The paved cities and sprawling suburbs have pushed wilderness away from many of us, but it's still there, waiting to reclaim what we took. It's just a matter of time.

For us, the best we can do is reach out to what wilderness environments we have nearby. Take a moment to watch the sun go down and see how all that's left are the shadows of trees and the limitless skies. Watch how the flowers are dependent on the insects and birds that frequent them, see how different some plants look in the mornings compared to evenings.

Plants and animals are ever competing with each other. They never stop adapting and surviving. Even the frog and ant know that their perfect world is one in which they thrive and succeed. The trees and flowers know to do everything they can to grow tall and strong, to better capture the sunlight they so desperately need to live. They instinctively understand that they are a part of the natural world, just as it is a part of them.

And the lessons from nature, for us, never end.

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Comments 13 comments

Wordflow profile image

Wordflow 4 years ago from Iota, Louisiana

This hub was positively beautiful. I felt as if I were reading transcripts of my own thought process. Truly inspirational and refreshing. Thank you for a beautiful translation of nature and our human interaction therewith.


Jason Marovich profile image

Jason Marovich 4 years ago from United States Author

Thanks so much for the compliments, Wordflow. It's also interesting to note how writers tend to be more in tune with nature because writers are ever looking for inspiration, and what better place to find it than the great outdoors.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

I often watch ants in action. They are amazing little creatures. They are hardworkers and never give up. They build their hills in the yards and place so much effort into them. Then I have to destroy their hard work or else I get in trouble with the Homeowers Association for having ant hills in my yard. Ugh.

I appreciate everything nature has to offer. I've finally learned to stop and smell the roses. That's when I remember to do so!:)

Thank you for this hub and the wonderful reminder of how much we take we granted. Excellent hub!


theclevercat profile image

theclevercat 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Lovely! When I see buds on the trees, then it seems they are flowers already, I think of the energy that it takes to do all that developing and I get a little overwhelmed.

Definitely voted up and awesome.


kelleyward 4 years ago

Hi Jason! This is a truly awesome hub! I wrote about the healing effects of nature on children and I'm going to link this hub to mine! I love how you noticed the movement of nature and how we all humans could gain much from this insight! Voted up and SHared! Take care, Kelley


Jason Marovich profile image

Jason Marovich 4 years ago from United States Author

Hey, Sunshine625. You're not alone. Many homeowners are required to keep their homes and yards as seemingly unnatural as possible. It's just our human path that takes us further from nature, which seems contrary to what we were designed for. I think we'd do well to remember our reliance on nature, while still pushing our way down our species' unique road. Thanks for stopping by!


Jason Marovich profile image

Jason Marovich 4 years ago from United States Author

Plants are so amazingly productive, I agree. With a little water and some sunlight, the sky's the limit. Simple, yet complex, and another lesson on how life requires so little to flourish. Thanks for reading and commenting, theclevercat.


Jason Marovich profile image

Jason Marovich 4 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, kelleyward. I think children, more than anyone, benefit from spending time with nature. Probably because it's so awe-inspiring, and adults are a little less likely to dream than children. With kids, nature is capable of anything, and there is so much to learn from it, that it's a teacher we sometimes overlook.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Man needs to be reminded often, we cannot survive on this planet without nature. Okay, now that I got philosophy out of the way, I have a man made pond and absolutely love my bullfrogs. I love to hear them croak, sometimes I think they're talking to me (uh oh, dementia?). Ants, while I understand their necessity, I would prefer they live somewhere other than between the block on my patio.

I really enjoyed this hub and your pictures are beautiful!

Voted up, awesome andinteresting.


lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 4 years ago from Central Virginia

I was on my way back to my own profile when I spotted this one and I had to read it. I am soooooo glad I did. Nature has been one of my most powerful teachers throughout my life and is often the inspiration for my writing. This was really beautiful and I have voted up and across the board (except funny). I will share it as well. You have a new fan.


chef-de-jour profile image

chef-de-jour 4 years ago from Wakefield, West Yorkshire,UK

Thanks for this thought provoking, observational essay. It's interesting to note that you don't mention Darwin or God but stick to the simple path, giving us your descriptions and feelings based on local Nature. That's a pleasant surprise.

For me the natural world is a wondrous and mindless and amoral place. No predator knows about right and wrong, no plant thinks about opening its flowers, no ant refuses to work for the community because one of his brothers has told him to down tools!

I try to express my feelings for Nature by writing poems - it's a way in through the door!

I vote for this hu.


paradigmsearch profile image

paradigmsearch 3 years ago from USA

There is a lot of truth in this article. Well written.


Jason Marovich profile image

Jason Marovich 3 years ago from United States Author

@lrc7815 - I'm glad you stopped in to read!

@chef-de-jour - Nature's lessons are for everyone, regardless of their beliefs. You're right, survival and instinct are the two main concerns of the natural world. We are a fortunate species to not have our thinking so limited by our environment. Thanks for reading!

@paradigmsearch - Thanks for reading and commenting, paradigmsearch!

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