Natural learning

​When the student is ready, the teacher arrives. 


Nature has pretty much everything, if not everything, that we need to learn from: it teaches us the concepts of diversity, cyclical patterns and behaviours, of cause and effect, unknown happenings, of beauty, the role of micro, macro and extreme events, continual erosion and sculpting, symbiotic and parasitic relationships, of coexistence, communication, specialised behaviour, adaptation, evolution, survival, balance, extinction… you name it and it is there. 

And all these, in an approachable, unbiased, giving, periodic and spiralling manner, done patiently, consistently, unfailingly, peacefully, and, beautifully.

It provides an excellent environment for learning, a medium which kick-starts self-reflection and self-learning with such ease once you connect with it. Its millions of years of wisdom awaken curiosity and teach us to sense, think and feel. 

If only we shifted our priorities and perspectives..

The rise and fall

The Leaf fell from the sky,

maybe a little abandoned,

sinking down gracefully;

Another floated up from the shiny lake below,

soaring up serenely,

till they were both One.

A steady lake-like smooth mind,

no ripples in focus,

Nerves taut, yet relaxed,

like an un-jangling stringed musical instrument,

Breath – unhurried and analog,

merging like birds with air,

Peace all around,

tranquil like a natural painting,

With the patience of the seasons,

I realize

that every fall

is also a Rise.

~~~

 

Blissful monotony

The trees were still,

like meditating Rishis,

seemingly motionless and lifeless,

but as alive as can be.

We bowed to them.

The trees, in so many shades,

raining leaves as Time expanded,

Its canopies, looking like a carpet on the mountainside,

and a decades-old stubble on the mountain top.

We were rooted in the woods.

Accompanied by a chattering stream,

Pebbles, like Jewels in the clear water,

reflecting the golden light,

the transparent paint of His palette,

a festival of colors painted out now.

We were eroded by the stream.

The clouds raced above,

like floating speech balloons,

Their shadows gave us a pleasant chill,

and ever so often, warmed our hearts.

Our feelings danced with them.

A lake came along,

its ripples communicating in binary,

something hidden but majestic.

As if listening to our queries,

its stillness revealed our thoughts.

We spoke with each other.

A few hundred footsteps on,

a roar met us,

a pretty waterfall tumbled down with force,

and sent the spray skywards.

We were drenched in joy.

Autumn wielded its brush,

the forest was a collage,

the creatures in the forest,

singing like wind chimes.

We were in a painting.

Seasons may be repetitive,

Nature’s sights may get familiar,

Life may be uniform,

the weather may be wearying,

We didn’t miss any monotony.

 

~~~

The third eye

What changes in the lakes to make them appear different to me every time I see them? Is it just the combination of what makes the lake a lake? Is it the permutation of colors, birds and fishes, blades of grass, cloud cover, wind patterns and angle of sunlight? Or is it all of this along with the changing thoughts and moods which ‘make’ me?

You see it – apparently barren and deserted, almost as if it is rejecting life, in the cold months. Then, as the sun climbs up, the trees blossom, the geese return in number, the forest blossoms – life is back, in full form! Again, the waxing and waning continues, the skies darken, the trees explode in bright colours; it is time for solitude, for tranquility. And then again, like a cycle, a long period of reticent beauty. Everything changes, and still stays the same.

I am currently reading ‘Walden’ by Henry David Thoreau and his genius at description had to be shared here. Here is what he says: ” A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. The fluviatile trees next to the shore are the slender eyelashes which fringe it, and the wooded hills and cliffs around are its overhanging brows”.

Of a beauty beyond words

 

The stillness of a lake always stirs up something in me. I am able to understand it a bit better now.

Just mirroring love

From the lofty ladders of ambition
in the weekdays where I work,
through the layers of deadlines,
and the pressure to out-run.
From the dais of self-importance,
across the big divide
I dive into nature
and plunge through the nuisance.
Grounded by this action,
I fall in love again.
Clarity
With each breath,
I walk with her.
With each step,
I breathe in.
~~~

Invisible company

On a lonely day,

the breeze met me;

head on, it hugged me,

asked me to slow down and not leave.

Suddenly, it left, as if playing a game,

and then crept up from behind.

I felt its arms around my shoulders.

It was convincing me to spend more time

as we walked together.

Now, I could also hear other footsteps,

leaves rustling on the same path I walked on.

A lonely day had turned lovely.

The invisible presence

A (brush)stroke of time

Time – abstract, slow, fast, relative, wonderful. How it changed this little lake and the trees around it.

We go to this lake pretty often – obviously we quite love it!

The first picture is taken on October 26 – the Fall colors are still visible. It was starting to get cold, the rain was pretty constant. But the leaves were there, in full glory. And the sky did occasionally put on a bright blue shade.

The second picture is taken from practically the same spot in the beginning of February. While it has not snowed much this time compared to last year in this part of Germany, temperatures have hovered around freezing for a while. That has given us a chance to see the lake freeze up to varying degrees! The colorful leaves are gone, the light is poor, the trees look barren, there is no blue sky and obviously no blue reflection on the frozen water.

Fall - colors, sky, water, leaves winter

 

Time – and perspective – a study? We miss the Fall colors now, but I am sure we will look back fondly at the memory of the frozen lake too. The ‘times’ seem to be good.

 

Rendezvous

Till we meet again, let the dance of rotations and revolutions continue

Gently, almost shyly,

the sun extinguished slowly,

a layer of clouds holding the colors

alive, like in memory.

Wind kissed the lake’s surface –

a caressing adieu,

tugging the heart’s strings.

A ripple spreading across,

reflecting a smile.

Barren trees bid goodbye,

a short farewell to an evening’s embrace.

A change of seasons

As the winter wraps its cold fingers around us tightly and as the year draws to an end – it is time to recap what has been a great year as far as natural scenic beauty is concerned. Germany is very beautiful and the outdoors are a treat to the senses. With it beginning to get dark earlier by the day, I am drawn to the time when I reached here – winter was fading away and the days were getting longer, sunnier and prettier. A sheet of ice and a blanket of snow often remained, but the sun was up, and the colors were spreading. Here’s a toast to Nature!

Frozen lake and setting sun - Fire and Ice!

Frozen lake and setting sun – Fire and Ice!

On one of my evening strolls, I stumbled on this lake. It was frozen over completely and was the first time I had seen such a sight. Was splendid, to say the least.

Over the next few days, the ice thinned out and was hesitantly slipping into the lake – almost as if it wanted to stay out and enjoy this pretty overlap of climate for some more time.

Ice thinning out and the trees and grass all colorful now!

Ice thinning out and the trees and grass all colorful now!

And in the next few days: birds! Sun bathing, catching up with their buddies, discussing plans for the summer and probably complaining about the winter? 🙂

With the birds I shared this lonely view

With the birds I shared this lonely view

With so much changing around us everyday, the most constant and cyclic of changes – seasons – have so much to offer.

Eye to eye, with a stranger

With the onset of Fall, the trees had begun to explode into colors. The wintry sun lit them up in its soft, warm and orange glow. The lake was as still as a mirror. We were walking around the lake and I saw a tree which had branches coming out of it at an angle; hovering over the lake. The reflection caught my eye, because in it, I could see an eye: an Iris formed by the yellowish-greenish shrubs with the pupil drawn out in the black shadows where no sunlight was reflected from. The tree with it’s bent branches formed the body of the eye.

Do you see the eye?

Is it just me or do you see His eye too?