I am starting to enjoy an activity these days and it’s an unusual activity. I go to a small park and feed the turtles at the lake. I throw the bread in the murky water and wait for the forms of the turtles to appear. They take their time to come but I know with patience that they will emerge, swimming slowly across the pond. They swim mindfully, with emotionless expressions upon their faces. So often overtaken by the fish, they eventually make their way in-land, and munch upon the small pieces of wholegrain bread that I give them (they are a little fussy; they don’t seem to enjoy white bread!). Once they have had their meal, they return into the dark, still waters. The uncomplicatedness of the moment is hard to describe. The flowers, the small turtles, the fish, reflect the wisdom of the hour, and remind me of the simplicity of life. Those that love nature and are still inspired become child-like in awe by the beauty of nature. In the presence of the turtles, a wild delight runs through me, in spite of any worries or concern that I might have. The effortlessness of the task ahead is easy; I throw the bread into the water, wait and watch. In due course I know that they will come. Sitting by that lake I cast off my wheelie bag which is always my loyal companion and feel what it is to be one with nature in my perpetual youth. By the lake, I return to the simplicity that is me. I am alone with the turtles and the fish. Calmness fills my being as I observe and wait for what will happen. I sit on the bare ground breathing in the air, and my ego vanishes. I see all and see nothing. To the watching and observing eye, there are no ordinary moments. Each moment has its own beauty, a picture which is never to be seen except in that exact moment. Every moment is the same but different, and will never be seen again. My past memories of the turtles melt away as I experience my new moments with them. The sky changes every moment and reflects its beauty underneath. Even though these moments pass they never truly pass, as they imprint in the thing I call my mind. While I am there I think about the reality of where I am. I am on a huge, circular rock. This huge spinning rock is rotating around a much larger ball of fire and this ball of fire spins around a huge Milky Way. God only knows what the Milky Way spins around. All of us are spinning. All of us think we are the right way up when in reality there is no such thing as up. Up and down, left and right, East and West don’t really exist except as human concepts. And we rarely think about it. Instead we are more likely to be engrossed in the latest hand-bag, the latest pair of shoes, the latest dress. Do we just consciously choose to forget? I don’t know how many of you have looked at the work of Louis Schwartzberg. He does a brilliant talk on nature: “Nature, Beauty and Gratitude”. If you haven’t seen it, I would highly recommend it. He shows time lapse photography of nature and talks about our link with the earth. It is hard not to see his work “Moving Art” without feeling inspired. Look at it and enjoy. Feel at one with nature and realise how amazing it truly is. As the Physicist and part-time Philosopher Albert Einstein once said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”. The true mark of wisdom is to see miracles in what others see as common. What is a turtle? Where are they going? Why do they exist? What is light? What is the sun? What is a day? What is out there in the stars? I would suggest that those that are wise see the world in an entirely different way. They are not just driven by material wealth and the latest accessories. Keep asking questions. Questions keep you alive. Be amazed by what others might consider plain and boring. Value a swimming turtle more than the latest Louis Vuitton trend! Value the people and the world around you and not just the money in your bank account!! I do feel sorry sometimes. Where has it gone wrong? When did we stop enjoying what is around us?
“Every sunset which I witness inspires me with the desire to go to a west as distant and as fair as that into which the Sun goes down. He appears to migrate westward daily and tempt us to follow him. He is the Great Western Pioneer whom the nations follow. We dream all night of those mountain ridges in the horizon, though they may be of vapour only, which were last gilded by his rays.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walking