Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

March 27, 2012

Random Thoughts: Nature paints every season with beauty

CROSSVILLE — According to the calendar winter has ended and spring is here. My question is what winter? I’m not complaining because I enjoyed every snow free day, especially no ice. Yes, I know until April is gone we could still see some winter weather but I will always remember 2012 as the year when spring began very early.

For more than twenty years I have watched my magnolia tree’s response to the temperatures. Too many years it is filled with buds which never open because the thermometer dipped. This March the reaction was strange and had never happened before.

It was completely bare of leaves but there were a few buds. One day four of those buds opened into lovely white flowers. They lasted two days until a heavy rain washed them away. Now the tree is filled with green leaves and there is not a flower to be seen. It must be the strange weather.

It is all part of nature now and in the far past. A.D. 121-180 was the life span of Marcus Aurellius Antoninus who explained it this way. “Get used to thinking there is nothing Nature loves so well as to change existing forms and to make new ones like them.”

One meteorologist with the Storm Prediction Center describes this year as “typical March-type severe weather.” The number of devastating tornadoes seems beyond typical.

Even some thunderstorms have been so strong they have registered on seismic equipment. Recently we wakened in the middle of the night because the thunder seemed to be on top of our house and every clap shook it. Poet Robert Burns described thunder as, “The voice of Nature loudly cries” and another, Percy Shelley, used gentler words, “the moan of thunder.”

Thankfully nature paints every season with beauty. Spring is spectacular with rainbow hues on flowers and trees. It is the time that invites us to get out in the fields and to discard bad thoughts and replace them with fresh good thoughts as we are surrounded by God’s artistry.

Walt Whitman wrote, “After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, and so on and have found that none of these really satisfy, or permanently wear — what remains? Nature remains.”

And then there is human nature. On April 3 there will be a ceremony at the National Bataan Shrine in the Philippine Islands marking the 70th anniversary of an event that brought out the worst and the best of human nature. The Bataan Death March is remembered there as the Day of Valor and many Filipinos will re-walk parts of the actual walk on that day 70 years laster.

In White Sands, NM last Sunday thousands from around the nation took part in the 23rd annual Bataan Memorial Death March. The 26.2 mile march honors those 78,000 WWII troops forced by the Japanese captors to march 80 miles to the POW camp. Some 15,000 were killed or perished during those six days of horror.

It seems there will always be a struggle between the worst and best of human nature. Today’s headlines carry the message of the atrocities being carried out daily. Even worse television shows us the cruelty. I can only ask, “Is anybody listening?”

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