Newsletter‎ > ‎September 2017‎ > ‎

It’s Only Natural

posted Sep 7, 2017, 3:59 PM by Kristin Snell   [ updated Sep 7, 2017, 4:06 PM ]

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

First the “Great American Eclipse” brought the nation together as people from all walks of life gazed skyward, united in awe as the shadow of our moon briefly obscured the light of our sun. We were captivated and inspired by a natural phenomenon that reminded us of our identities as planetary citizens.

Next came Hurricane Harvey, battering the Gulf Coast with torrential rains and flooding that devastated one of America’s largest cities. Once again a natural event altered the lives of millions, this time nurturing seeds of compassion within the hearts of those who flocked to aid the frightened, hungry, and homeless, huddling on rooftops or stranded in shelters.

San Juan Ridge’s Pleasant Fire ignited without warning, gobbling up trees, grasses, and brush as he made his way northeast, voraciously feeding on everything in his path. Ground and air crews were dispatched, homes were evacuated, and the battle between firefighters and their nemesis ensued. Although the Pleasant Fire consumed almost 400 acres, evacuees have been able to return to their homes and resume their lives, thanks to the efforts of brave firefighters who race to a fire rather than away from it, placing themselves on the line between fire’s devastating impacts and their community’s safety. 

All occurring within a span of only nine days, these three events have something to teach us about ourselves. The solar eclipse, flood, and wildfire were unusual natural phenomena that had a profound, far reaching effect, often bringing out the best in people.  Humans were inspired as planetary citizens, as compassionate helpers, and as grateful survivors.

Although we are surrounded by wondrously beautiful natural phenomena, suffering multitudes, and heroic champions, it took a set of dramatic circumstances to inspire wonder, compassion, and gratitude within us. One doesn’t need special glasses to behold the vibrant beauty of the natural world that continually surrounds us. All one need do is open one’s eyes. Every day people suffer loss, and hunger for the simplest kindness. A warm smile, a helping hand, and a reassuring presence go a long way to help alleviate sadness and pain. This world is a dangerous place and we are fragile creatures, yet we continue to survive to pursue our passions and pleasures. We are normally safe and sheltered, taking the safety of our homes and loved ones for granted, rarely appreciating what we have until it is on the verge of dissolution. Sometimes it takes something BIG to jolt us from our reverie, to shift our perspective, to awaken our wonder, compassion, and gratitude. Life can be so much richer when we embrace those qualities every day.