It’s no secret that I’m head over heels in love with nature. And writing. Okay and well a lot of things. I’m a passionate person. But since the time I was a child, I held a deep fascination with nature. I loved it. I loved squatting down to look at a glittery trail a snail had left behind. I loved watching ants figure their way through grass, over rocks, and around cracked concrete while carrying something ten times their size. I loved looking up at all the stars and knowing I was a tiny piece of something infinite and powerful.
I’ve always loved nature.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that a large chunk of my writing connects me, my narrators, my characters, and events to nature. But why?
Aside from loving it so much I want to keep talking about it, at the end of the day I want to believe that I am part of this giant, powerful, bigger than me place. I want to know that I exist in the same way a mountain exists. In the same way a river exists. Or an ocean.
I want to think that the world’s problems are my own. What hurts and toxifies the rivers toxifies my body. What makes the trees bend and snap makes me bend and break. What shakes a mountain shakes me. I find a profound depth in that connection. It’s something bigger than me, as I’ve said. But by the margins, I’m bigger than it.
We’re all on this scale of enormity. And I’m fascinated by that and what that could mean. The bottom line is, the stuff that makes me is the stuff that makes everything else on this planet. We all came from the same lake of goo. The first batch of soup.
So that’s why I like to write about nature. I like to see myself in it not in an arrogant or narcissistic way but in a primal way that talks about that scale of enormity.
So the other day I was sitting at my desk, fingers hovering over my typewriter keys, and I watch the light of the sunset light up the tree by my window that was going through its fall transition. Half it’s leaves were green, the other half a very firey orange and red. With the sun, it really looked like the tip top of the tree had caught fire. It was gorgeous. The sun slipped away and the sky went from orange to purple, to gray to black.
And it got me thinking.
The end result was this poem:
My long fluffy orange sleeves
Match the colors of the trees.
My pants, loose and soft,
Mimic the dark moss of a lost,
Vibrant forest of secrets.
But my eyes are the mystery.
The skies are gray.
The oceans, black as a nightmare.
The seas are too pure.
My eyes leak blue sin.
Could it be, that lil old me
Has my very own place here,
Beneath a sky where branches whip,
Wind races, and asphalt caves
To a bitter mother?
Could it be that my baby blues
Stand proudly on their own
As strong beasts of nature?
If that’s so, then what do I
Do with these blue pearls
Of nature lodged in my head?
A long one, I know. And we won’t cover every single stanza like we have in the past.
Let’s start with the first stanza though. It was my realization that nearly everything we have comes from nature and our perception of color. I was wearing this very comfy burnt orange sweater when I wrote the poem and I realized that the shade nearly matched the shade of the tree.
I started thinking about how everything mimics nature. Or how we can interpret it that way. There are things of course that do not, not really. Like the bare bones of a car. Or a tall, thin skyscraper. Those things, of course, fascinate me and make me wonder what they do resemble. Have I just not seen the natural equivalent?
Back to the poem. I was going over myself, head to toe (and didn’t get very far) when I wondered about my eyes. Can anyone else have the same color, the same iris pattern?
And that took me for a loop.
My eyes, these tiny little things lodged and held into a chunk of bone, are mine and mine alone. I started thinking about nature. The sky, lakes, oceans, seas and I couldn’t think of anything that really matched my eye color. It hit me like a ton of bricks that I am undeniably my own piece of nature.
Then, I started thinking about how powerful nature is, how man could never stand up to tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, or anything like that. But then I remembered, there are things that we can stand up to that other things cannot. And I’m not just talking about our mechanical advantage over everything else. We cannot get bitten by some things because of our skin. We cannot contract some diseases other animals die from…or it just doesn’t hurt us that much. A mild inconvenience. We have the ability to smash a fly because it annoys us.
This is the conclusion that I wanted to share with you from the poem. We all are our own unique piece of nature. Our energy, our makeup, our existence is one of a kind and cannot be replicated. Though we mimic nature, use nature, and live in it, we are a big part of it. Our bodies are part of nature. And some things, like eye color, are unique to us which made me think that I have a power, I have an impact unique to me. There is something about me that isn’t found anywhere else in the world and there is something about you that isn’t found anywhere else in the world. In that way we are so strong and so frail.
We can impact the world around us as much as we want, but we are not removed from what something larger than us (on that scale of enormity) can do to us because that is its existence.