Nature has many lessons to teach us about living. Especially now, when COVID limits where we go and what we do. 

A few years ago I was surfing at Huntington Beach, California. It was 2016, and I was 73. 

All I hoped for was a few hours of good surfing. The fresh salt air awakened memories of when I first surfed there in 1964. 

Lesson 1: The phenomenon of sounds and smells often brings a flurry of memories.  Nature has a way of stimulating them. 

As I entered the water, a growing swell caught my attention. It was rapidly transforming into a substantial wave. I jumped on my board and paddled fast to dive under the incoming break. 

Lesson 2: Nature is always in a state of change.  Sometimes it’s rapid; sometimes glacial. Most of us resist change.  Though conditioned to expectations and routines, whatever our age, we have the ability to grow. 

Paddling past the forming swells brought me near a pod of dolphins. They were watching, their heads high out of the water. My senses told me they wanted to play 

Lesson 3:. Trust in our senses and heart-felt feelings opens us to new life experiences.

I paddled faster and dove under the incoming break. One of the dolphins followed, cutting into the building wave. Suddenly, a curl of water arched into a beautiful tube; a portal into timelessness. 

Lesson 4: Time seems to accelerate as we age. Being in nature makes us more  present and aware.  I experience this when surfing,  floating in deep powder or running the rapids. Even simple changes in less exotic daily routines make us more present and can slow things down. 

Pressing forward on the board sped me toward the opening of the tunnel. Behind me the wave collapsed, pushing a spay and blowing me out and up over the backside. 

Farther out two dolphins cut across the face of the incoming wave. One made a swift cut upwards, spinning high, turning and diving back to the sea. Show off, I thought. Dolphins often like to perform and play in waves with surfers. They knew I was impressed. 

Lesson 5: We become much more alive when we are aware of and sensitive to our surroundings and those in them. 

Experience tells me that most of us want more years in our lives. Regardless of who we are or what we can do, being more present and aware provides us with more life in our years

 

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