Friday, July 19, 2024

How nature inspires me

Written By Advay Thakur (Grade 3)


There is so much beauty to behold in nature. Glistening bright green leaves swaying in the wind, the lush grasslands with little creatures crawling around underneath, beautiful animals of all shapes and sizes in jungles living their own lives. The diverse beauty and spectacle of nature are always something to behold, and I love seeing nature and interacting with it.

But nature is not just beauty and serenity. It is also strength, composure, and life. The beautiful tall green trees with lush leaves are the same trees that give us shelter, food, and oxygen for life. Nature is a thing of beauty, but it is also a primordial force of strength. As nature can breed life, it can also destroy it.

There must be millions of planets and stars in the galaxy, and only we here on Earth live in one that has life. It is such sheer luck to be alive, to exist and to take in the life around us. But we in our busy lives and continuously moving schedules tend to ignore the beautiful things surrounding us.

Once I went on a family trip with my parents to our village. It was a very good experience to go back to my roots, talk to my elders and learn about my family. I heard so many stories of my father as a kid! It is interesting to think that once my parents were as small as I am now. But such is nature. My father saw his grandfather care for a palm tree sapling that he says was planted when he was a kid. And now I see my father care for it as a big old tree that provides shade to us all.

My mother told me that going back home and recollecting your roots is essential for everyone, no matter how old they get. We must always return home once in a while, and see the changes and the similarities, and how things have shaped up in our absence. But that got me thinking, isn’t all of our home, our collective ‘village’, our first stop at this long train ride with so many stations that is life – is nature?

Nature makes us all and shapes all of our lives. The palm tree that my great-great-grandfather planted still gives shelter to me even though its original caretaker is no more. But such is life. Grandmother told me that once we all die, we go back to the ground from which we came. First, I thought of it to be scary. Doesn’t the ground have worms? That’s gross! But I think I understand what she means now.

On my trip to my village, I saw that near the washroom at the back of the house, beneath the two mango trees, there was an anthill on the soft mud. I did not recognize it at first, it looked like a small hole, like a tiny volcano made out of mud. I asked Grandfather what it was and he said that just as this building behind me is my home, the little mound of mud with the small hole is the home of the ants.

“We should break it!”, I said. Grandfather was surprised and asked why. I said ants could spoil our food. We had seen them yesterday eating the apple I had forgotten to eat. Tiny little black dots, making holes into the fruit’s surface and eating away without care. Grandfather reminded me that it was me who had left it on the table for so long and forgotten about it. He said, “Such is nature” about the whole matter, and then smiled silently.

I asked him what that meant. He said, “Things that grow from the earth must return to the earth. We make our homes from the mud, the same as the ants. When you discard your apple, the ants shall eat it, and it would sooner or later all return to the earth to grow again as another apple on the tree, for another little boy to eat. And that is the cycle of everything in life.”

This thought had initially made me a bit scared. It seemed so weird to think about what would happen to things after they perished. It felt frightening. But then I saw something on two occasions on the very same anthill described above. And it made me a bit less scared.

I saw a small ant a bit far from the hill, trying to go back to its house. But something was wrong. It had been injured by something, as it crawled slowly with its tiny feet to its home ever still. There was slight rain, and each drop that fell on the little insect made its progress even slower.

I pointed it to my father. Shouldn’t we help, I asked. He said no. Because we would not always be there to help. And I stood and saw as slowly but surely, the small ant crawled its way back to its home. Seeing its little body squirm into the hole made me feel very happy, and I went back to sleep feeling well.

That night, it rained heavily. Grandfather told me in the morning that there had been a storm last night, water was pouring heavily upon us and winds blew so fast that a few of our clothes were flown off too. I suddenly thought of the anthill. Oh, the small anthill! Gentle drizzles it could handle, but this was a storm!

I ran back to the place between the two mango trees, only to find nothing. Just a large mudpile, with no sign of the ants. Mother came shortly after and gently held me. I felt so terribly sad, I wanted to cry. She said not to worry, they must have taken shelter elsewhere. But where else was to go? They were not like us, they did not build with bricks and cement, and their home could so easily have been swept by the rain.

It affected my mood for a long time, but then I forgot about it. It was fun to explore in our big home and walk around in the forests and small roads around it. Slowly the ants slipped from my mind entirely. But then a week later, Mother excitedly called me in the evening to see something. I was eating sweets and did not want to go, but after her repeated calls, I finally went to see what she wanted to call me for.

And what did I see? A small anthill near the bushes of our front gate! And a line of ants going back up in an orderly fashion, inside their little home. It made me so happy to see. Such small creatures but they had survived, they had fought through the storm and rebuilt their home. It made me happy.

Nature is such a beautiful thing to witness. It is a story of nurturing, and care, as much as it is a story of strength, power, and even destruction. But when nature destroys, it also creates. It is both death and life. It is a force inside all of us and will exist even after we are all gone back to our true home, the soil.

As Mother said, everybody should go back to their old home once in a while, and reconnect with their roots. As such, we should also reconnect with nature. Because small beings like ants can inspire us in such big ways. Nature is the greatest gift of life, and we should always be grateful to be alive, to exist, and to be with nature.


Featured Image Courtesy – Hemp Ecosystems



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