I enter the woods for solitude—I know they are to teach me, and I am to listen.
Dear woods, what do you have to teach me?
The aspens whisper through the cool autumn wind. Be patient for everything will change; nothing remains the same. See how my beautiful vibrant leaves are turning yellow in places. Eventually dear girl, the chill of the harsh winter will brown the leaves that I have worked so hard on, but don’t fret because eventually spring will come. Baby buds will emerge. Life will flourish. Be patient for everything changes.
Dear babbling stream, what do you have to teach me?
Sweet girl with the bluing hair, be mindful of the present moment. Do you see the water in front of you? Close your eyes and grasp that it is only in the precise moment that you see that stream, for I was once snow that fell from the sky and packed the mountain tops above you. Eventually I may return to the sea and touch a whale like I did centuries ago. My point? The stream that lies before you at this moment will never be the same. So take witness to every moment and regard the beauty in its temporariness.
Dear chipmunk, what do you have to teach me?
When times are plentiful and life’s fruits abound, store up for the harsh winter that will inevitably come. Take notice of the way the sunshine warmed your entire existence as you gathered the nourishing nuts for the winter. When the snows have fallen and your world is frozen, remember the summer sun’s warmth as you sink your teeth into that pine nut. Trust what the aspens have taught you. When you feel like all hope is lost and you are shivering cold, be patient for everything changes.
Dear mosquito, what do you have to teach me?
Every life counts, no matter how large or how small, no matter how intelligent or how simple. I am fully aware of my pesky existence, for my survival is based off the taking of living beings blood. But be cognizant that my life counts too. I have young to raise and air to breathe. Just because you may not be aware of my life’s value does not make my life invaluable. Our earth is an all-encompassing circle of life, so respect all lives no matter how big or small, no matter how intelligent or simple.
Hummingbird that zips through the trees, what do you have to teach me?
My lesson to you, green eyed girl, is one of perspective. When I am hovering near the tree tops and unable to see the bright flowers from which I derive my energy, I simply must change my perspective. I swoop down and hover over the damp moss covered forest floor. It is there that I see the (red) indian paintbrush, the (yellow) wild roses, and the (lavender) Colorado columbines. When life fails to be offering what you know is necessary. Simply change your perspective and you will see that many opportunities await you.
Dear moon that dangles in the morning blue sky, what do you have to teach me?
I want to remind you small girl, just how small you really are. So often your problems seem so large. Think of the universe and just how tiny our planet is. Think of the uncountable stars, the galaxies, and the diverse planets. Just how many light years would it take one human life to travel to another galaxy? See the bigger picture. Grasp humility and how lucky you are to have this precious human life to grow, observe, and learn.
Dear cold mountain rainfall, what do you have to teach me?
I know that my raindrops are like ice, making every hair stand on edge, sending your muscles in a shiver. Be aware that this rain gives nourishment for life and know that it’s those cold harsh nights that make you appreciate the sunny days. For without rainfall, you and all of life would cease to exist. The harsh cold night help you to appreciate the warm sunshine.
Author: April Netschke
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Jordan Sanchez/Unsplash