Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
One of the most striking characteristics of being on a beach is the contrast between the constant tumultuous onslaught of the waves and the comely patience exhibited by the rocks, pebbles and sand. The beach faces the waves of the ocean, big or small, without fear or even a wince but on the contrary, uses the power of its turbulent water to obtain a polish that evokes calm and serenity in the hearts of its visitors.
This polished look did not happen overnight. Much time had to pass before the beach could help people feel peaceful as they walked along it. Old souls are like that as well. They have this tranquility about them, this glow that only comes from from years of endurance, years of riding out the tribulations of life with demanding patience. I was thinking about this the other day when read a qoute about patience online that now, in all my impatient frustration, I can no longer find; that patience is conducting oneself with constancy in the face of both good and troubling times. I wanted to use that quotation and while searching for it again, I found the above quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
When I read that, I said to myself – ‘Exactly!’ That is Mother Earth’s secrete. Back in the spring of 2006 in Issue #10 of the Organic Light Photography Newsletter I examined what it meant to be patient. Here is the last paragraph of that issue. It seems fitting here.
Learning how to move at the speed of time: that is, finding a balance between haste and sloth, something that we call patience is really nothing other than living our lives at the speed of time. It seems like such a difficulty but in reality, it is not that hard. Everything is destined to occur when it is supposed to and nothing we do can bring a future moment in time to us any quicker nor can we do anything to slow time down. No one knows this better than one who has lived a long life. Something that occurred to me a few weeks ago while leading a workshop in Big Basin State Park in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
There in the middle of the forest was a tree that the park service had named the Father of the Forest. An ancient Sequoia Semperviren estimated to be older than 2000 years. With a girth of 70 feet at its base and towering more than 250 feet above the forest floor it truly did give the sense of standing at the foot of a great father. Its age most apparent from its shear size and wrinkled bark covered in moss. While other trees one-fourth its age or younger are found toppled over very near by, this tree stood firm. One cannot reach such an age without an immense amount of patience. Something the younger trees failed to learn from the ‘Old Man’ in their rush to uproot and just fall over. Patience is what allows one to grow old. It allows a person to live in the present, neither longing for the future nor sorrowing over the past, and to appreciate what one has from the many blessing we take for granted every day. It is truly humbling to think that this old tree waited all this time for me to come by to teach me the importance of patience. I can only hope that we as humans can learn to foster patience within ourselves so that we can live as peaceful a life as this ancient tree.
Peace to you all.