Daily Tao / 268 – Nature


My back is stooped from scholarship,
My eyes are dimmed by history’s words.
Surrounded though I may be by learning,
I still cannot compare with nature’s perfection.

Learning is a passion shared by many of us. There is a great allure to education and a fascination with the accomplishments of civilization. We go to libraries and museums. We go to exhibits showing the diggings from royal tombs. We are enchanted with new inventions. And yet, if we look out our windows and see a tree in its perfection, or gaze into a tide pool, or watch a cat as it strolls its territory, or see the flash of a blue jay, we can see another order of beauty and intelligence in this life.

The works of humanity cannot compare to the works of nature. The works of civilization lack the balance and refinement of nature. Too many times, our accomplishments are tainted by impure motives : profit, hardship, desire for fame, simple greed. We achieve, but we cannot foresee the results because we are unable to place our actions into a greater context.

Nature is a conglomeration of contending forces, of tooth and claw, venom and perfume, mud and excrement, eggs and bones, lightning and lava. It seems chaotic. It seems terrible. And yet, for all its unfathomable workings, it far surpasses the business of our society.

Think about what you do. How much of it can compare to the perfection of nature?