"Mankind's wholesomeness comes not from self alone. Our nature is determined by life's nurture. We are what we touch and see. We are part of the land upon which we stand, the rise of its mountains on the horizons and the reach of its valleys. We are all that flows to us from a thousand streams of experiential source. We inter-breathe with the rain forests and we drink from the oceans of oblivion. Our dreams are born in our seasons of slumber and are realised in the passage of the wind. They are carried to us on the backs of our ancestors and find final resting place in family trees.
We did not come into this world; we came out of it, like a shooting star from the heavens and a wave from the ocean. We are not a stranger here. Our deepest roots are firmly set in nature, our firmest learning is rooted in nurture. No matter who we are, where we live, or what kind of life we lead, we are and shall remain irrevocably linked with the rest of nature until creation is no more. All it takes according to William Shakespeare is 'one touch of nature to make the whole world kin.'
We have seen much progress during the centuries dominated by the factory and the industrial wheel, encompassing the great works and inventions of Hargreaves and The Spinning Jenny, George Stephenson and the Rocket, along with the bridges built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and yet, though great as such inventions were, they are nothing compared to our greatest of all accomplishments. Though we have fashioned the machine to make everything from spoon to space craft, nothing can match our developing a natural joy in earthly living and becoming close companion to nature's soul. This is undoubtedly our greatest of earthly contributions.
If I had but one lesson to teach our young about the magic in this world it would be this. If you seek peace and understanding of life, know that it can be found wherever you are and whatever your circumstances. Look deep into nature and you will understand everything worthy of nurture. Look long into the love of self and you will find the love of others holding hands. Observe the innocent child and grow old wiser in their ways. Children are the living proof that wisdom truly begins in wonder. Children possess that magical capacity to move among the many strands and stratum of the earth; to see and experience the land as an animal does. They know how to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth breathe beneath them and to know a hundred different smells of mud and the sound of a cricket laughing whenever it leapfrogs a grasshopper on the wing. Such learning comes not from books, but from an observation of the natural world and a longing to be a meaningful part of it.
If I had but one poem that I could compel all adults to learn and love, it would be the beautiful verses of the Canadian lecturer, author and poet, Edna Jaques:
'Go out, go out I beg of you
And taste the beauty of the wild.
Behold the miracle of the earth
With all the wonder of a child.'
Edna Jaques knew that the making of mankind at its best would involve invoking the secret of nature; to grow in the open air and sleep in the earth." William Forde: September 20th, 2015.