3.5 The Alchemy of Nature

To see a world in a grain of sand

And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand

And eternity in an hour

– William Blake

We instinctively turn to outdoor activities and nature as a way of relaxing and enhancing our wellbeing. Nature soothes and nurtures. Nature fulfils and motivates. Nature whispers and commands.

Are you listening? When I do, it leaves me in complete awe. We have a hibiscus plant in our garden. Every fortnight a flower blooms on it-big, bright and tender. Through the day it smiles with the sun and dances with the wind, but as evening approaches, it starts wilting. The morning after, it withers completely and by evening it falls and becomes one with the earth again. The flower comes to life only for a day, yet it does so in full splendour. What if we too lived our life, however short, to its fullest ?

We went to a rocky beach and saw the spread of the majestic ocean and the rocks alongside, carved, sculpted and shaped by the water. Water is so gentle, rock so hard, yet, as the water flows over it every day, for years, the rock gives in. It takes the shape that the water commands. Our problems are so colossal and we are so small, yet if we persist… We saw small bits of grass peeping through the small cracks in a concrete pavement. It left us thinking : however impossible things may look, there is always an opening…

We saw a tree bare of all leaves in the cold winter months. We thought its chapter was over. But three months passed, spring set in and the tree was back to its green majesty once again, full of leaves, flowers, birds and life. What if we too had the conviction that, however difficult things are right now, it will not remain so for ever. Remember, this too shall pass.

 We saw an army of ants lugging a fly which was at least ten times the ant’s size. The ants organized themselves around the fly, lifted it on frail feelers and carried it to quite a distance. Their teamwork and perseverance were impressive. What if we too are consistent, organized, focused…Spider webs are delicate, yet very strong. A rainbow colours the entire sky. Oysters take in a grain of sand they open up with a pearl. Innumerable stars shine across the infinite sky. Clouds take new shapes with every passing moment. The wind makes trees dance with unhindered passion. Water, without hint of ego, changes its form according to the dictates of the sun and the wind. When we see a caterpillar turn into a butterfly, a flower turn into a fruit, we experience the alchemy of nature… we touch it and become gold ourselves.

 – Raksha Bharadia