To my daughter, on living with nature.


“How do we live with nature?”


You asked me a question when you were a little girl. When I spoke of living with nature, I didn’t really mean living with the silverfish in the bathroom, jackdaws in the chimney or cellar spiders in the cupboard. Although they are, as you know, welcome! I’ll try to answer your question again, from my own point of view, now that you are older.

True understanding of nature is good, it’s about the best thing for you along with knowing you are loved. Never underestimate its relevance and resist those who laugh and disparage.

There are different kinds of understanding nature. One is most popular, but a falsehood, a selfish kind, which uses nature solely for utility and ego. This is not beautiful, and only ends in destruction of within and without. The other kind is an epiphany of all that is good about being human~ empathy, compassion and altruism ~ not only in a collective respect for nature but in a deep well of love for all beings as unique and inherently valuable.

The false kind can and will make us ill, a broken ethic of selfishness, but the second, of selflessness, will unleash a strength in all of us, and reignite a dormant wisdom we lost somewhere in a crowd.

You’ll know when you truly understand the nature of nature, in that the scales will fall away from your eyes and you’ll feel the eternal energy that blazes through the biosphere across regions and time. We are all connected. Keep it travelling. If you hear even a whisper of this understanding, relish it. Share it. It is infectious to those who are susceptible. Don’t bother too much about those who are immune. And don’t worry about what you don’t know. Mystery is integral to the beauty. Embrace the unknown and then let it go, if needs be.

The purpose of nature and love is the very essence of beauty. Be confident that you can live a life full of this kind of beauty. Nothing else really matters. Design your decisions for this kind of life, as best you can.

Let nature know how you feel. Find the living things and tell them, in any way appropriate. They may not respond in our language, but they’ll hear and have languages all of their own. Listen and be literate in as many as possible. Herein, there is joy.

Knowing nature is gratitude. Remember your Ps and Qs.

When you are living a beautiful life, know that I understand the good feeling it brings. My life isn’t perfectly beautiful, whose is? But I feel it when it momentarily happens. Talk to me, you have my love.

Finally, life is lived best slowly and with enthusiasm for the small things, which are everything. You race very well in a pool full of water, my little swimmer, but there is no need to race for the pool of this knowledge. The most valuable tenets will be worth the wait, and will come to you if you keep an open heart.

To the end of the universe and back again,
Mum. xxx



6 thoughts on “To my daughter, on living with nature.

  1. Nature Girl (With due acknowledgment to Eden Ahbez and Nat King Cole)

    There was a girl
    A very strange enchanted girl
    They say she wandered very far
    Very far
    Over land and sea
    A little shy and sad of eye
    But very wise was she

    And then one day
    A magic day she passed my way
    And while we spoke of many things
    Fools and kings
    This she said to me

    “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
    Is just to love and be loved in return”

    “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
    Is just to love and be loved in return”

    Sung by Sarah Vaughan at: