Reflections in Nature: In nature there is balance and harmony

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After the article I wrote about the milkweed plant and its importance to the United States during World War II appeared in print, I received a letter from 91-year-old Lenora Stackhouse. She had been attending school in Roaring Branch at that time and was one of the students that participated in collecting the milkweed pods for our government.

The school had supplied white bags to fill with pods, and when full the bags were stored in the boy’s cloak room. Lenora went on to write that she spent many hours collecting the pods and had won first prize for filling the most bags. However, no one from the government came to pick up the milkweed bags. This led to several mischievous boys cutting open a few of the bags, releasing milkweed fluff to float around the class. This caused quite a stir, and the teacher had the bags hauled away. Stackhouse’s letter showed that our government had good intentions, however, the plan did not turn out the way it was intended.

The big contention today is whether our government, school boards or employers have the right to require us to wear masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the laws we live our lives according to are those created by man, and we know from experience how unreliable and changeable man’s laws are.

However, there are also nature’s laws, which are never changing and show no discrimination.

In nature, there is a balance and harmony found nowhere else on our planet. We look at nature and know that the oak tree will come from the acorn, a daisy will always be the same color, a skunk cabbage plant will always stink, and the full moon will rise in the east as the sun is setting in the west. This is the way it has always been and always will be.

We know that when a ball is thrown into the air, gravity will pull it back to earth, the exact date and time that our seasons will change can be predicted, and the time the sun will rise and set and the phase the moon will be in each day.

Nature is something that we can count on. In our fast moving and changing world of today, this is very comforting to know. Today, housing developments are being built on farm land divided for this purpose. The growing of crops and butchering on small family farms is becoming a thing of the past.

Essential duties of the past are becoming obsolete. Modern technology has enabled us to supply ourselves with all of our physical necessities by simply going to a store. Shoppers will usually drive even if the store is only several blocks away.

Many people are walking and going to gyms, with personal trainers, for exercise. This alone should tell us that our lives are becoming dormant if we have to do all of this for exercise. Most of our jobs have us becoming soft. We sit, push buttons, watch a monitor or simply stand and do some sort of repetitious action. Even farming, which is an occupation with much dedication and hard work, is becoming automated.

Our spare time has also become complacent. The television, cell phones and iPads have seen to this. Surveys have been done on how many hours our children sit in front of a TV set. This percentage of time is way too high. To combat this, the schools are encouraging our children to read more books. For years our grandchildren have signed contracts agreeing to read so many books during summer vacations. Free personal pan pizza coupons were given out if pledges were kept.

Man has accomplished many marvels — with television, computers, iPads and cell phones among them. To be able to watch what is happening around the world at the very moment it is occurring is quite a feat. At any time of the year, we can buy fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood from all over the world. In the past, these items were only available to us during certain seasons. We can pick up a phone and talk to someone whenever we want, even when driving down the highway in our air-conditioned, climate-controlled cars.

However, all this technology does not come without a price. The tension we live under gives us medical problems, such as ulcers, heart attacks and strokes. All of these conveniences have taken us away from nature. We need to experience nature, re-trace our footsteps, feel the warmth of the sun on our backs and the dirt under our feet. Do you realize that some people in our cities go months on end with out walking on dirt? They walk on concrete or steel instead.

Now, I realize that we cannot have a mass migration back to the farm. Not everyone could or would want to do this. However, we need to go outside to watch and feel nature. All cities have park systems, where wildlife are thriving. Within these systems are trained people that take individuals and groups on walks, pointing out interesting items in nature. Even a vacant lot in a city will support some natural phenomena.

Although beauty is found in nature, so is the beast. In nature, it is kill or be killed, and where only the smartest, swiftest and strongest survive.

We need to start teaching our children about nature’s laws. A simple walk in the woods can be an enjoyable treat to a youngster, and when you share one of nature’s secrets with a youngster, the walk becomes an unforgettable event. In doing so, you have enriched their lives, and your own life as well.

Bill Bower is a retired Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Officer. Read his blog and listen to his podcasts on the outdoors at www.onemaningreen.com.

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