One of the most fascinating parts of nature is watching how things change! It is utterly amazing that a caterpillar can build itself a little shell, nestle inside, and come out completely transformed into a butterfly. How incredible to watch ice, cold and solid, become an entirely new puddle of liquid before taking flight in the form of steam! And watching the trees change with the seasons or the sky change as we move from day to night and back again.
What does nature teach us about change? First, nature teaches us that change is almost certain. I know personally I would like to believe that change is optional. I have spent a lot of time trying to control change right out of the picture. But, as I always find, change is a law of both human nature and the worlds of science and nature.
Second, we learn that change is usually sparked by a shift in the environment. Our butterfly knew the right time to build the chrysalis because of changes in the weather. Our ice will only melt when the temperature starts to rise to a certain level. Trees will put on leaves or let them go based on changes in the climate. I think that the same is generally true for us. When our environment is generally what we would like it to be, we tend to leave things alone, but if something in our environment is not to our liking, it inspires us to take action.
Third, nature teaches us that change happens slowly and then all at once (this to me is completely surprising). I love the image of ice as a visual for this law of nature. If you start out with an ice cube in a cold room and then slowly, degree-by-degree, raise the temperature what you will find is that the ice stays the same and stays the same and stays the same until you hit 32 degrees Fahrenheit and then BAM! everything changes. The entire cube will melt at 32 degrees. I think about this a lot when I have decided to make a change in my life. If I am hoping to melt an ice cube and I start warming things up, it may be that my current environment is only a few degrees from creating the big change that I'm seeking, or it may be that my current environment is going to require a lot of heat to get to the temperature that will melt the ice cube. It is easy to get discouraged and give up when the changes we seek seem to be slow to come, but I have found that change is often slow, but sometimes the results all arrive at once.
Fourth, we also learn that there are limits to what can be changed in nature. I have a group of trees in my yard and they are all a little different. They cannot choose to be a type of tree that is more like another type of tree, they are all the type of tree that they are. Sometimes when we talk about change we assume that everything an be changed, but I think in some instances we are who we are.
Have you ever thought about how nature can teach us about our personal nature? How do changes in nature help you understand changes in your life? How are you trying to change?