Nature Loves Those Who Oppose Her Most

Planets orbiting around Pacific Islander woman's head
Planets orbiting around Pacific Islander woman's head

The Hidden Nature Within You: It's Bolder Than You Think

There is a nature deep within us that we do not know. Nature is not a passive lawn we walk on. Nature is audacity.

Think about it.

Going from nothing to a big bang 13.7 billion years ago -- that's audacious. Pushing the very first things -- quarks -- from a rushing sheet of nothing, from an expanding sheet of space and time, tweezling an outrageous impossibility, the first particles, from a racing, virginal emptiness -- that's outrageous. 380,000 years later, gathering things together by the trillions of trillions with just one whisper-soft force, gravity, that's amazing. Organizing those trillions into black holes, stars and galaxies, that's flamboyant, astonishing, and ornate. And these were just nature's opening acts. Once she made life 4.1 billion years ago, nature showed her real gumption. She generated bacteria that swam against her ocean currents and her tides. She generated microorganisms that turned her poisons into pastries and her foulest smelling exudates into treats.

She established competitions, contests in cheek, daring and effrontery. And she gave rich prizes to those who could break her rules the most rebelliously.

Nature showed that she loves those who oppose her most. Sounds impossible, right? But think for a second. One of nature's most basic rules is gravity. And Nature rewarded those creatures with the guts to break gravity's hold and crawl above the surface of the sea. She favored those who planted themselves on the killing fields, on the barren stone-scapes, of land. She gave gifts to those creatures with the chutzpah to take on that all-rock landscape's nightmares: first a three-hour flood of poisonous radiation, then a plunge of 88 degrees in temperature and an equally poisonous slam into three hours of darkness.

Nature rewarded creatures willing to lift themselves in defiance against this planet's six-hour spin of night and day. This planet's persistent indulgence in the torments of climate change.

And nature took a step further.

Among the plants that formed a coat of green on the hostile stone, Nature rewarded those who lifted their heads. She rewarded those who said get lost to gravity. Why? The lifeform who lifted the highest got the best light. And the best crack at the winds that could carry pollen and spores. Those who competed the hardest rose the highest, handing gravity a sound defeat. Until finally trees took defying gravity to radically new heights, making the planet's first skyscraping trunks, trunks that would eventually reach three hundred feet high. Trunks that would break the chokehold of gravity by lifting up to 4,150 pounds of water a day from deep underground to their topmost leaves.

Why does nature reward those who do startlingly unnatural deeds? Because she uses atoms, stars, galaxies, bacteria, trees and folks like you and me to push herself to the next level of the impossible. She uses us to create.

Which means that you and I must be stewards of a nature that we've so far refused to know. The nature that aches to make the radically and astonishingly new.

Remember, Nature loves those who oppose her most. Nature is not just greenery. She is you, me, and all that we humans have not yet conceived.

She is all of our impossible tricks, toys, and gadgetry -- from culture, roads, and cars to smart phones, the Internet, video games, and movies. These man-made things are as natural as the impudent gravity-defiers we call trees. They are as natural as the light enslavers we call leaves.

Nature is, guess what? Gumption, guts, balls, brass.

Nature is, yes, audacity.