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  • Lorna Ilena Bussue

THE CLASSROOM OF THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Our sensibilities are usually impacted by various stimuli which leave us with feelings of nostalgia, fear, loneliness, love and hatred. Our sensitivity is based on our various interactions, whether within the workplace, the human environment or nature itself. On reflection, nature profoundly influence our outlook of life, thereby creating deeper meaning and awareness of our existence. Sometimes our sensory experiences, when stirred by elements of nature, such as the animals, birds and plants, prompt our sensory responses and create lasting memories for us.


As a child I frequented an area of the beach where huge rocks jutted out of the shallow water to form an open enclosure. I remember exerting all of my efforts to climb those moss covered, slippery rocks. My first successful climb was rewarded with the breathtaking view of an array of seaweeds of every conceivable colours. I was left with the sensation of the awe of marine beauty. I tried to transplant them in a location more readily accessible to me. I soon learned however, that species will only adapt and survive in conditions which are suitable to their growth. My experience left an indelible impression on my mind of the unharnessed wonders of nature. This served to trigger my positive responsiveness to the beauty of life.


Outdoor experiences keep us in balance with our innate feelings and help us to develop those qualities that form our individuality. For example, after viewing the soft, radiant beauty of the moon; the rosy, brilliant hues of the setting sun; the magnificence of the rainbow's arc, we are confronted with the grandeur of nature. Our hearts swell with liberalism to our fellowmen. We are touched with the spirit of forgiveness in the face of such an astounding presence. Our helplessness can be felt in the shadows of Earth loftiness making us humble by our impotence in the grand scheme of the universe.


The Great Outdoors can mold us into wholesomeness at no cost to ourselves. A gusty blow against our warm bodies invigorates our spirit which pushes us to accomplish what others thought were beyond our limit. Similarly, a gentle breeze lulls our chaotic thoughts into a state of relaxation while giving new insights on how to cope with life.


Our most inspiring moments are from within the informal classroom of the outdoors. That innermost quality within ourselves, may suddenly be motivated by the simple idyllic occurrence of a bird hopping on to our arm or through listening to its special audition as it sits on a bough above our head.


These simple actions make us question what we learned about life in the formal classroom. We become aware of the many lessons offered by nature and sometimes saddened by our many missed opportunities to learn these lessons. We become blessed by our realization that we have to slow down and tune our minds to the tempo of the outdoors in order to understand what it means to truly live.


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