Walking through a summer alpine meadow can be enriching. The many colors of the alpine flowers contrasted against the rich greens and browns of the almost waist high grasses paint a magnificent tapestry of nature at its finest. Honey bees and butterflies fly in about this array of colors, collecting nectar and distributing pollen as nature intended.
But a high mountain meadow also engenders a sense of awe and therein lies an important lesson. As I hiked such a meadow this summer, I was struck by the speed with which it had blossomed. To think, only two months before, the meadow had been covered in over a foot of snow. Now, it was fully grown. That nature could achieve such a miracle in so short a time was astounding.
This cycle of death and rebirth are controlled by biological forces built into nature. There is a blueprint which all living things follow. This blueprint in turn seems to track preset designs, one of which reflects the encoded message: “Do the best you can with what you are given.” Somehow the flowers and grasses of an alpine meadow are programed to know this and sprout with lightening speed.
This message and lesson from nature is also a good one for us to follow. We want to fulfill the goals we set for the New Year. Yet we too need to remember what nature knows instinctively. We need to do the best we can with what we are given. This means we have limitations. It means we probably cannot achieve everything we set out to do. It means we have to be realistic about our abilities and expectations. Let’s be kind to ourselves this year. Remember, God did not create the world in one day, so we do not need to remake our world in one year. A day at a time is good enough.