An Incongruence with Nature

As we propel ourselves faster and faster; as we create technology to make processes quicker; as we frantically race between soccer tryouts and basketball practices and piano recitals — we (and more importantly, our children) find ourselves out of step with nature.

Nature’s cycles remain consistent. We can rely on the waxing moon and the seasons unfolding in their own time each year. But as our own pace increases between the steady seasons, we become impatient with the slower pace of natural processes. This is evidenced in agriculture. Instead of waiting for hens to lay their eggs naturally, we intervene so that they lay more eggs faster to keep up with our pace. We feed our cattle products and inject them with hormones so that they will gain weight faster.

Today, one hour photo developing isn’t fast enough. We need it now. Next day delivery won’t suffice anymore.

And why do we want to go faster than nature? What need do we have to increase the speed?

One day, a businessman was on holidays in a small fishing village in the Caribbean. He spent one morning watching a young fisherman with a small boat anchored just off the coast. When the young fisherman pulled onto the beach to unload his morning catch; the business man approached him.

“Good morning. Do you mind if I ask you a question?”
“Not at all, what can I help you with?” said the young fisherman
“Well, I was wondering if you ever considered taking out a loan?”
“Why would I do that?” asked the fisherman.
“Well, so you could buy a bigger boat and some better equipment.” the businessman replied.
“Why would I want to do that?” the fisherman said.
“So you could catch more fish and make more money, of course.” replied the businessman.
“Why would I want to do that?” responded the fisherman with a smile.
“So you could buy another boat and hire a few other guys to expand your business.” the businessman said.
“Why would I want to do that?” the fisherman asked.
“So you could make a lot of money and retire early.” the businessman said.
“Why would I want to do that?” asked the fisherman again.
“So you could have the time to do whatever you wanted to do.” the businessman said.
“But that’s what I’m doing now.” said the fisherman with a smile.

When we spend our time racing around, going faster and faster, trying to do more and more; we often lose sight of what we really want. Sometimes, we forget that we already have whatever it is that we are seeking. Sometimes, we realize that we are moving quickly without any real goal in mind — just out of habit and momentum.

Do you remember the slow, summer days of your childhood? Do you remember taking the time to rake a big pile of leaves in the autumn and spend an hour jumping in it? Do you remember spending summer afternoons exploring anthills in your backyard, without being concerned that you were wasting time? Do you remember having Saturdays arrive each week with nothing on your calendar but a desire to play?

Will your children remember those times too? Or will they be too busy trying to stay ahead of nature?

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