NATURE’S LESSONS

The world is changing rapidly and many people are stressed, confused and afraid of what is happening. By doing the simple things that cost nothing, such as being in nature with an open heart and mind, much wisdom and perspective can come to help you deal with life.

LESSONS FROM A CRAB

crab

Walking along the sloping beach mirror between the hot sand and the rough churning sea, up ahead I see a crab standing on his reflection in the mirror. It’s a male with a big white signal claw.

What will he do? Run up the beach to escape the next sweeping wave? Dig in? Or be swept down to the sea? A strong wave is coming but the crab sees me. Danger! Enemy approaching! Yet I sense no fear in him, only a knowing of the game. He takes a few quick steps away from me; the wave grabs him, rolls him up the beach and then sweeps him back down into the churning sandy foam. I see him tumbling end over end then lost to view. One, two, three, four waves, no sign of Crabby. Then I see a pair of little antennae sticking out of the water down in the dregs of the shore break. Another wave tumbles him up the beach and down again, and up and down again and again. From my typically human viewpoint I think: is he sick? Old and weak? Dying? Should I help? I decide to reserve my judgment and merely observe, standing very still.

Then I begin to understand, as the crab does and always has. A wave carries him tumbling up the beach. Just as it turns to go back down, he rights himself sideways to the retreating water, runs a few quick steps down with it until the pressure of the flow is off him then he locks his feet into the sand and stands composed, still, himself. A few weak waves fall short of him, then another comes with more force, tumbles Crabby up the beach a bit further and he repeats his short run with the flow and then gripping and standing firm. In another few waves he is standing serenely right back up the top of the beach mirror, having expended merely the energy of a dozen or so steps, flow-assisted steps at that!

I test him by approaching. He “catches the next wave” down into the safety of the surf. I stand in his path in the incoming wave to see what he’ll do and he continues to allow himself to be in, but not of, the maelstrom, and safe from me for the time being. Surely that maelstrom would eventually weaken a small animal – sand-clogged breathing, sand-blasted eyes, hungry marine predators, stone-injured limbs, etc, but the crab knows how to balance himself between those dangers and the danger of being plucked off the open sand for a meal by a bird or a human.

Remind you of anyone? He knows and understands the cycles of the ocean (know thine enemy – and it becomes your “friend”?). He knows that the maelstrom pulls back to leave a relative calm before the next big set rolls in, not a time for ignorant complacency, but a time for choices. He knows that the ocean is rough and dangerous but that by being himself he can use its very nature to his own advantage. He does not fear nor is he attached, reactive or off balance. He is still, centered within himself, neither giving up nor giving in when “things get rough”, nor resisting the huge forces sweeping around him, not afraid of the big ones still coming.

He lives on the edge, in a challenging space-time between dynamic, dangerous realities. Just like us, just like now.

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