A Simple Way to Find Understanding, Peace and Wisdom

January 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Nature Space

Swan Feather by Amy Palko

Last semester at university I taught the wonderful poem The Thought-Fox by Ted Hughes, and I was struck at how incredibly rich natural metaphors can be to describe the human condition.  It’s something that I try and tap into in my own writing, both here at The Calm Space and in my personal creative writing, but to see the act of writing creatively captured and expressed in the form of a fox, I was reminded of the infinite possibilities nature provides us with in order to understand ourselves and our place in the world better.

  • The cycles of the moon help us to understand the stages of our life: Daughter, Lover, Mother, Crone, enscribed in the heavens by the new, waxing, full and waning moon.
  • The acorn holding within it the plans for a mighty oak illustrates the potential we all hold locked within.
  • The mated swans elegantly gliding side-by-side speak of the rich fullness of partnership and romantic love.
  • The waves crashing to shore smoothing and eroding the sandstone coast for millenia upon millenia depict the inevitability of impermanence, even to those structures we believe to be implacable in their rigidity.
  • The butterfly’s cocoon permits us to believe in the possibility of transformation, emergence, and the sense of coming into one’s own as a fully-realised individual.

Being aware of the natural world as a rich resource for the creation of profound metaphor, we can access it whenever we are faced with existential or moral crisis.  Whether we have lost our direction, whether we are faced with out own mortality, whether we are in conflict with those around us, understanding and a new sense of peace can be found when we immerse ourselves in nature.

What I show in my writing for The Nature Space (hopefully!) is the sheer munificence of nature to provide us with solace, wisdom, transcendence, endurance.  Remaining alert to the environment teaches us such an enormous amount, permitting us to live lives that are full and rich and redolent with joy.

Step outside your door, open your eyes, your heart, your mind, and really see the gifts that nature provides.  The possibilities are, quite literally, endless.

PS Let’s see how many metaphors that take nature as their subject we can create between now and the end of the month.  Leave your contribution in a comment below!


5 Responses to “A Simple Way to Find Understanding, Peace and Wisdom”
  1. Joanna Young says:

    Lovely piece Amy.

    Two recurring motifs that I find in my photographs:

    Paths that look like invitations (winding and beckoning, with trees as guardians by the side)

    The shape, strength and beauty of trees (how they hold their shape, gracefully, through change, through seasons, dancing with us, teaching us how to do the same)

    I gain a lot from noticing these things, always.

  2. Hilary says:

    Hi Amy .. I came across beaks as a way of working out what a bird, insect, fish etc used its beak for – then it told us a lot about them. How slang words with appropriate descriptions fitted humans .. eg beak for the judge;

    Perhaps the best would be Aesop’s Fables .. stories to tell within the metaphors and parables ..

    Your descriptions give us another direction to look in ..

    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

  3. Joanna Young says:

    Amy, I came across this quote this morning and thought it apt:

    ‘To walk into a wood is to pass into a different world in which we ourselves are transformed’ ~ Roger Deakin, Wildwood