Life’s Lesson: A Journal From Johnson’s Woods

Nature does not shrink from its deceased.  She does not fear the inevitable. That which dies is not frantically covered or removed.  It is recognized, and it remains.  Of course, this has a great deal to do with nature’s inability to grasp a shovel and dig a grave, her lack of will to pick up and settle elsewhere.  She cannot run away, so she must cope. And she does so with grace.  The dead become a part of the living.  Necessary for continuity and for balance.  Snags become hovels for woodpeckers and opossums.  Trees completely fallen provide shelter for ground-dwellers and food for beetles.  There is a great juxtaposition, then, of the thriving and decaying.  All cycles and stages of life are commemorated in the world untouched by man.  And I think we have something to learn. 

 

2 Replies to “Life’s Lesson: A Journal From Johnson’s Woods”

  1. Hi Hannah, I think the photo you chose to include with your post really helps to enhance it – I also kept noticing how many fallen logs there were at Johnson’s Woods, and the photo is a great reminder of that! I agree with you that “all cycles and stages of life are commemorated in the world untouched by man”, but I also am interested in the sometimes blurred boundaries between nature and humans. Wouldn’t you say, to a certain degree, that all stages of human life and death are commemorated too? Not just through our cultural customs, but also through our coexistence with the natural world, and the eventual decay of our bodies and their return to the earth.

  2. Hannah,

    Do you think what we have to learn from nature is adjusting to death with grace? Is it apathy on the part of nature rather than only a determination to persevere and continue? I think because we see nature as silent, we risk imposing on it more grace than it might have. I myself and prone to romanticizing nature, but I think we as people are often attracted to nature’s endurance, despite odds deemed too devastating for recovery. Yet, nature has no choice but to continue trying to survive, it’s all it can do in a sense. Yet I think this graceful perseverance you touch on is true in the sense that it humbles humanity into understanding the “black and white” of survival and how much emotion they apply to survival. The perseverance for survival is directly tied to our fear of death. When we see death in nature, I think people feel a simultaneous sense of grief and inspiration to continue the fight.

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