Appreciate beauty in the natural world

Jared Crain, Campus Carrier Deputy News Editor

There exists a certain simplistic complexity in nature that every person on Earth can enjoy if he or she is willing to broaden his or her range a bit, both physically and emotionally. This environmental paradox cannot so much be expressed through words as it can be portrayed through examples, and so, though there are a limitless number of natural sightings that demonstrate our world’s simplistic complexity, there are five in particular that anyone can see in nature that make for a healthier human being. Each of these five sightings, taken beyond face value, provides a whole new perspective into our natural landscape.

A waterfall. One does not have to hike very deep into the backwoods to see this natural flowing wonder. Every waterfall is unique, whether it be in height, width, intensity, or overall rock and pool pattern. The delicate and ethereal flow of a waterfall portrays much more than a rocky cascade of liquid. It reflects the liveliness and vigor of one of our most essential elements. When you stand at the base of a waterfall, peering upward as the water carefully crashes into an oasis, it is very difficult to miss the connection that there is a quality of life even in the inanimate.

The ocean. While many have made road trips to coastal regions, perhaps not everyone has taken the effort to find a beach or spot somewhere along a beach that is devoid of other people and civilization. While its beauty can be recognized in any coastal setting, the full effect of the ocean is attained best when the area is as undisturbed as the sea. The vast expanse of blue is quite literally extraordinary, that is, beyond the human perception of what is understood. The ocean ironically portrays for us the unknown, a view of that which is beyond our scope of vision. Not only does this understanding, or lack thereof, humble us, but it also satisfies us with its calming ubiquity. 

A mountain view from atop a rock or cliff face. This sighting may take a bit more endurance and persistence to achieve, but the satisfaction of standing well above a series of mountains, hills, and valleys etched below outweighs the costs. For those in need of some soul-searching, merely hike high up to an open edifice, take a seat, and let the wind caress your skin as you observe the mountains from a whole new perspective. For those afraid of heights, even an expansive mountain view away from the edge is both calming and invigorating.

The night sky. While it is not exceptionally difficult to see the stars at night from below, it becomes a tad more tedious to find an area uncorrupted by artificial lighting to view the full expanse and offering of the night sky. When one does venture out to an area without earthly light, the constellations above shed light into a new world. The mosaic of stars, planetoids, and constellations above is much more than an inanimate contrast of dark background splotched with countless individual beacons; it is an incomprehensible pattern so fantastically real that it pushes our perceptions beyond our own superficial instincts of reality. The night sky illustrates that there is more to our world than can even meet the eye, and that makes us all the more special.

A sunrise or sunset. The beauty of both a sunrise and sunset is that everyone, whether a morning person or a night person, can bask in the extravagance of at least one or the other. Sunrises and sunsets display the atmospheric color and tonal intensity of the natural world that may not be found elsewhere. Not only does a sunrise or sunset serve as an environmental wonder of its own, but it also serves to highlight all of creation as a continuously evolving work of natural art. To watch the progression of colors in the sky and shadowy highlights on the earth through the duration of a sunrise or sunset is to achieve the full effect of the natural interrelationships between the heavens and the earth.

These five natural sightings provide snippets of insight into the magnificence of our world and humanity’s place within it that we do not recognize as much when we do not see it for ourselves. However, the full beauty resides not necessarily in the sightings themselves, but rather in the greater forces beyond them that keep us reveling in ambiguity. They show us that we are small, that there is so much more to comprehend beyond, and that for these reasons there is never a reason to sit still. Such sightings in the natural world may not tell us directly what we are doing here, but they do show us that while we could be anywhere else, we are not.

Leave a Reply