Remembering lessons from nature
Living in rural Wisconsin we often take for granted our natural surroundings. We see rolling hills, emerald fields of corn growing and dazzling sunsets over big skies almost every day in the summer and it becomes easy to forget how lucky we are.
My father always said that nature has lessons to teach us if we have ears to hear. Of course, when you’re a kid, the last thing you want to do is just sit down and listen. You want to run! You want to go! You want to be!
And that’s important too. Kids need to be kids, and we have to remember that they experience life in a different way than adults. Watching my niece grow up, and also being a reporter, reminds me that learning isn’t always linear. It takes mistakes and it zigs and zags - just like a small child playing tag outside on a cool summer evening.
But as I get older, I find myself reflecting on my father’s words of wisdom. These days I strive to listen to what nature has to say. I take time to hear water babbling from a clear stream, or listen to the sound of wind rushing through green leaves and tall grasses.
The lesson I take these days is that there’s always something happening. That tiny miracles occur all around us - the ant building its colony, the birds building their nest. I remind myself that while it’s important to be, it’s also important to be like the tree - strong, resolute, and willing to sway and move with the wind.
We are facing mighty winds these days winds of change. In many ways these winds are long overdue. Others happened more abruptly, like our recent global pandemic.
Like nature, these events force us to sit down and take stock of our lives, the things we value, where we have been and where we desire to go. It’s an uncertain present we find ourselves in, an even more uncertain future.
As a reporter, I wonder if we’ll have sports this year. I see my student- athletes from Colby, Stratford, Edgar, Abbotsford and Athens. They all ask my opinion, or wonder if I have some hidden information that I’ll secretly share with them.
I don’t. I know as much as they do, and I can only travel through time like they do - one step at a time. I do have hope, and I do have optimism. I tell the kids to keep training, keep working out as if we are going to have a season.
That’s another lesson from nature. Just as winter gives way to spring and then summer, we have to be willing to work and renew and grow. We have to be willing to be strong and resilient, like the blades of grass in a tornado. Grass is small, but after the storm they are still there.
People can be like that too. Events can be large, but as nature reminds us - being small can be a good thing. M USINGS AND G RUMBLINGS
ROSS PATTERMANN REPORTER