nature - nature 2

In every outthrust headland,
in every curving beach,
in every grain of sand
there is a story of the earth.

Rachel Carson

Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, is a succession of changes so gentle and easy we can scarcely mark their progress.

Charles Dickens

Believe one who has tried, you shall find a fuller satisfaction in the woods than in the books.  The trees and the rocks will teach you that which you cannot hear from the masters.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Spending time in nature can be a wonderful source of inspiration.  The natural world has an energy to it that can put you in touch with the deepest parts of yourself.  Thoreau spent two years alone in the woods so he could commune with nature and access the wisdom inside him.  It was there that he wrote some of his most inspiring work--much of which contains timeless wisdom that is every bit as valid and true a century later.  He discovered that all his answers lay inside him, just as yours lie inside you.  Swim in the ocean, climb a tree, hike a mountain, or simply take a long walk in the woods.  Do whatever activity calls to you that will draw you into the rhythm of nature and draw out your natural instincts.

Cherie Carter-Scott
If Life Is a Game, These Are the Rules

Nature always takes her time.  Great oaks don't become great overnight.  They also lose a lot of leaves, branches, and bark in the process of becoming great.

Andrew Matthews


Nature seemed to me full of wonders, and I wanted to steep myself in them.
Every stone, every plant, every single thing seemed alive and indescribably
marvelous.  I immersed myself in nature, crawled, as it were, into the very
essence of nature and away from the whole human world.

Carl Jung


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I loved the rain as a child.  I loved the sound of it on the leaves of
trees and roofs and window panes and umbrellas and the feel of
it on my face and bare legs.  I loved the hiss of rubber tires on
rainy streets and the flip-flop of windshield wipers.  I loved the
smell of wet grass and raincoats and the shaggy coats of dogs.
A rainy day was a special day for me in a sense that no other kind
of day was--a day when the ordinariness of things was suspended
with ragged skies drifting to the color of pearl and dark streets
turning to dark rivers of reflected light and even people transformed
somehow as the rain drew them closer by giving them something to
think about together, to take common shelter from, to complain of
and joke about in ways that made them more like friends than it
seemed to me they were on ordinary sunny days.  But more than
anything, I think, I loved rain for the power it had to make indoors
seem snugger and safer and a place to find refuge in from everything
outdoors that was un-home, unsafe.  I loved rain for making home
seem home more deeply.

Frederick Buechner

There is no trifling with nature; it is always true, dignified, and just; it is
always in the right, and the faults and errors belong to us.  Nature defies
incompetence, but reveals its secrets to the competent,
the truthful, and the pure.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds,
the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring.
There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—
the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.

Rachel Carson

Spend time in a flower garden.  Stay there as long as you wish, but make sure your visit is long enough to take in the various charms that the world of blossoms and petals provides.  You can sit in a chair or on the grass, lie down looking up at the flowers from below, or walk around.  However you choose to spend your time, be aware that you are a guest in someone else's home--nature's--so act accordingly.

If the day is warm and sunny, savor the rays and imagine how the flowers must feel at this very moment.  Look closely at the variety of blooms, at the different shapes and colors, at the way the individual blossoms grow out of their leafy sheaths.  Now use your sense of smell to take in the stunning array of fragrance, all of which can be divinely overpowering.

Keep an eye out for the various animal life that also lives in the garden, the birds and squirrels, the insects that fly, the ones that crawl.  Notice how intently they go about their business, how they move from place to place trying not to notice you but in fact finding that task difficult.  Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of the garden, the chirping and humming, and the movement of the stems and leaves in the mild breeze.

Now see if you can transcend your individual senses and feel the presence of the garden inside you.  Try to become just another flower, at home in the garden as if you were in your own house or place of worship.

Alan Epstein

We are shown that our life exists with the tree life, that our well-being depends on the well-being of the vegetable life, that we are close relatives of the four-legged beings.  In our ways, spiritual consciousness is the highest form of politics. . . . We believe that all living things are spiritual beings.  Spirits can be expressed as energy forms manifested in matter.  A blade of grass is an energy form manifested in matter--grass matter.  The spirit of the grass is that unseen force which produces the species of grass, and it is manifested to us in the form of real grass.

Mohawk Nation
We have today to learn to get back into accord with the wisdom of nature and realize again our kinship with the animals and the water and the sea.  To say that the divinity informs all things is condemned as pantheism.  But pantheism is a misleading word.  It suggests that a personal god is supposed to inhabit the world, but that is not the idea at all.  The idea is of an indefinable, inconceivable mystery, thought of as power, that is the source and end and supporting ground of all life and being.

Joseph Campbell
Nature has given to each conscious being every power she possesses,
and one of these abilities is this:  just as Nature converts and
alters every obstacle and opposition, and fits them into
their predestined place, making them a part of herself, so too
the rational person is able to finesse every obstacle into an
opportunity, and to use it for whatever purpose it may suit.

Marcus Aurelius

Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snow in the field
and woods, if you would keep your spirits up.  Deal with
brute nature.  Be cold and hungry and weary.

Henry David Thoreau


  nature - nature 2    

All things in nature work silently.  They come into being and possess nothing.
They fulfill their function and make no claim.  All things alike do their work,
and then we see them subside.  When they have reached their bloom,
each returns to its origin. . . . This reversion is an eternal law.
To know that law is wisdom.



If we are in tune with Nature, all her music can find a way into the heart.
When bird music is rare, their occasional songs are precious to the ear.

Frank Bolles

To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.

Jane Austen

I have had more than half a century of such happiness.
A great deal of worry and sorrow, too, but never
a worry or a sorrow that was not offset by a purple iris,
a lark, a bluebird, or a dewy morning glory.

Mary McLeod Bethune


There is no quiet place in [your] cities, no place to hear
the leaves of spring or the rustle of insects’ wings. . . . The
Indians prefer the soft sound of the wind darting over the face
of the pond, the smell of the wind itself cleansed by a midday
rain, or scented with piñon pine.  The air is precious to the
Indian, for all things share the same breath—the animals,
the trees, the human.  Like a person who has been dying
many days, a person in your city is numb to the stench.

attributed to Chief Seattle


Nature with her wonders blinds and binds one still.  There is no escape.
I love her utterly through all time and times.  All over the world
towns to me are prison; green fields are home.

Marion Cran

Contemplate the workings of this world.  Study how water flows
in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks.
Everything--even mountains, rivers, plants and
trees--should be your teacher.

Morihei Ueshiba


How can people forever think that Nature lies on the surface!  Of course
it does, in its most superficial aspect.  But those who, in the face of Nature,
are not overwhelmed with awe at its infinite mystery, its divinity (we can
only sense it, not comprehend or penetrate it)--these people have not come
close to it. . . . And in every work of art, which should be a reflection
of Nature, there must be a trace of this infinity.

Gustav Mahler


There's nothing like a walk in
the forest to clear my mind and
get my spirit to calm down and
slow down.  Any time I get away
from the masses of people and find
a quiet, solitary spot in nature,
be it in the middle of the desert,
in the forest, on a beach, or
even along a lonely country road,
I feel myself being refreshed,
revived, renewed.  It's a wonderful feeling that I don't search
out nearly enough.

tom walsh


When we enter the landscape to learn something, we are obligated, I think,
to pay attention rather than constantly to pose questions.  To approach the land
as we would a person, by opening an intelligent conversation.  And to stay
in one place, to make of that one, long observation a fully dilated experience.
We will always be rewarded if we give the land credit for more than we imagine,
and if we imagine it as being more complex even than language.  In these ways
we begin, I think, to find a home, to sense how to fit a place.

Barry Lopez


We ought for our own good to have access to nature and knowledge
of it.  To my mind, it is monstrous that any child should grow up without
some acquaintance with nature, and above all I would say without an
opportunity for intimate knowledge of some individual plants and animals.

J.B.S. Haldane
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief.  I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light.  For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

From the spiritual side:


I do not know when it was, nor where it was, nor how young I may have been,
but I can recall. . . a sudden feeling of happiness at hearing the voice of the pines.

Frank Bolles


We need wilderness whether or not we ever set foot in it.
We need a refuge even though we may never need to go there.

Edward Abbey


If you will cling to Nature, to the simple in Nature, to the little things that
hardly anyone sees, and that can so unexpectedly become big and beyond
measuring; if you have this love of inconsiderable things and seek quite simply,
as one who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor:  then everything
will become easier, more coherent and somehow more conciliatory for you,
not in your intellect, perhaps, which lags marveling behind, but in your inmost
consciousness, waking and cognizance.

Rainer Maria Rilke



For the Infinite has sowed his name in the heavens in burning stars,
but on the earth he has sowed his name in tender flowers.

Jean Paul Richter


God, we thank you for this earth, our homes; for the wide sky and
the blessed sun, for the salt sea and the running water, for the everlasting
hills and the never resting winds, for trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses by which we hear the songs of birds, and see
the splendor of the summer fields, and taste of the autumn fruits, and rejoice
in the feel of the snow, and smell the breath of the spring.  Grant us a heart
wide open to all this beauty; and save our souls from being so blind that we
pass unseeing when even the common thorn bush is aflame with your glory.

Walter Rauschenbusch


Creation was given to people as a clean window through which
the light of God could shine into people’s souls.  Sun and moon,
night and day, rain, sea, the crops, the flowering tree, all these
things were transparent.  They spoke to people not of themselves
but only of Him who made them.  Nature was symbolic.  But the
progressive degradation of humans led them further and further
from this truth.  Nature became opaque.

Thomas Merton



Nature is school-mistress, the soul the pupil;
and whatever one has taught or the other learned
has come from God--the Teacher of the teacher.



With nature's help, humankind can set into creation all that is necessary
and life sustaining.  Everything in nature, the sum total of heaven and of earth,
becomes a temple and an altar for the service of God.

Hildegard of Bingen


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Nature's intent is neither food, nor drink, nor clothing, nor comfort,
nor anything else in which God is left out.  Whether you like it or not,
whether you know it or not, secretly nature seeks, hunts, tries to
ferret out the track on which God may be found.

Meister Eckhart

Go outside, to the fields, enjoy nature and the sunshine,
go out and try to recapture happiness in yourself and in God.
Think of all the beauty that’s still left in and around you and be happy!

Anne Frank

I, a city dweller, have a summer place on a cedar-crested bluff overlooking a lovely bay down by the sea.  The salt breezes off the mighty ocean sweep cares away; the soft sunlight falling on the grass teaches me the quiet repose of earth; the unhurried sounds of the natural world, so different in quality from strident city noises, quiet me as a mother soothes her troubled child; and at night when the stars come out, blossoming one by one in the infinite meadows of heaven, and a hush falls over land and sea, I can hear the friendly voice of Mother Nature, which is the voice of God, saying:  "My child, this is life.  Take time to live it."

Norman Vincent Peale

nature - nature 2

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Every formula which expresses a law of nature is a hymn of praise to God.

Maria Mitchell

Those who understand nature walk with God.

Edgar Cayce


We need the tonic of wilderness, to wade sometimes in marshes were the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snipe; to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground.

At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be infinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because they are unfathomable.

We can never have enough of nature.  We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thundercloud, and the rain which lasts three weeks and produces freshets.  We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.

Henry David Thoreau

Dear God, we give thanks for places of simplicity and peace.  Let
us find such a place within ourselves.  We give thanks for places
of refuge and beauty.  Let us find such a place within ourselves. 
We give thanks for places of nature's truth and freedom, of joy,
inspiration and renewal, places where all creatures may find
acceptance and belonging.  Let us search for these places:  in
the world, in ourselves and in others.  Let us restore them.  Let
us strengthen and protect them and let us create them.
   May we mend this outer world according to the truth of our
inner life and may our souls be shaped and nourished
by nature's eternal wisdom.    Amen.



Found online:

(Found online images come from a variety of unattributed
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not to share!)


Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.



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