I spent an afternoon by myself getting back to the earth and enjoyed an uneventful stroll along the unmarked footpaths of a state forest. I came upon this ambitious plan-in-progress of a beaver.
This artwork of Mother Nature made me pause and reflect. Why did the beaver start this project? How long will it take to finish? What made it choose this tree versus the one closer to the river bank? What will the finished dam look like?
I returned to the forest months later with the intention to see the beaver’s finished masterpiece. Among the lush green growth of late Spring I found the tree. Although I was able to see the result of the beaver’s work, I left bewildered rather than with a satisfied curiosity.
Did something happen to the beaver? Why did it stop? Does nature have the ability to think, “I’m wasting my time”? Do beavers make bad decisions? Does nature make course corrections and wisely reallocate its energy?
I watched the river with a keen awareness and remembered an excerpt from Chapter 8, Living in the Flow, of the Tao Te Ching. Lao Tzu writes,
One who lives in accordance with nature does not go against the way of things. ~ Lao Tzu
I’ve started many life-changing projects, pursued interests, and chased careers, I’ve walked away from many of them. I realized I was fighting against a gut feeling, an instinct, my guiding force. In effect, I was not following Lao Tzu’s wise advice.
I left the forest that day with pride. I don’t believe Mother Nature makes mistakes. As humans, we may not like the decisions she makes or the results of her actions, but she does what is necessary. She can be ruthless and cold-hearted and leave us asking more questions, mostly, “Why?”
I believe the beaver made a decision to use its energy pursuing a more fruitful goal. Seeing its abandoned project led me to write this post to let you know: It’s okay to leave behind that which no longer serves you. Please, appreciate yourself as a gift to others and use your resources wisely.
Walking away with pride. If you are reading this, I encourage you to make a course correction toward although you will undoubtedly leave something undone. The world needs you more where you are going rather than where you have been.
And sometimes, life surprises you and makes you smile.
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.