Aaron Whitfield/The Gauntlet

A time to pause and appreciate: Often overlooked, the beauty of nature is awe-inspiring

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We're lucky, you and I, to live where we can step outside and enjoy the great outdoors at will. Well, at least we're lucky to have a great outdoors to enjoy, in a world so riddled with violence, war and turmoil. Looking out the classroom window, it might be difficult to believe that the largest, relatively unspoiled tract of wilderness known as Canada is just a few minutes away, waiting to reveal its splendour.

All too often, we isolate ourselves from our natural roots, choosing instead to defy the natural order in ignorance of its carnal majesty. When you get the chance, go outside and enjoy the first snows of the season that nature has seen fit to bestow upon our artificial lives. If you can tear yourself away from the cities, deadlines, cellular phones and microwave meals, you'll quickly realize that none of these worries we concern ourselves with really matter in the infinite pattern and diversity of nature.

Nature is a truly grand and awesome force. On one hand, it gives us northerners four wonderful seasons each year to enjoy the best the Earth has to offer. On the other, those living equatorially get the diversities and riches of lush rainforests, tropical plains and deserts year round.

Anywhere and everywhere, it can invoke within each of us raw emotion and memories of simpler times. It is simplicity that we ultimately seek, for in simplicity lies beauty. Out there, there is no technology, there are no gadgets to help or protect us. There is only the unadulterated, raw power, with nothing holding us to the chronographic master. We become everything of nature and nothing of ourselves.

Despite what we may think, we cannot tame nature. Following every blizzard, hurricane, firestorm, or natural disaster, we realize that despite snow makers and snow blowers, great dams and great walls, clearcut woods, and our exchange of giant sea beasts for ones mechanical, we are powerless over her. We cannot overcome the technology of life.

Terra has withstood for billions of years, alone in the darkness, pelted with forces inconceivable to all but the most brilliantly insane mortals.

When the cosmos descends, as it is prone to do, nature will choose who lives and who dies. In that one moment, between the darkness and the light, none of man's accomplishments will matter. Life will endure, we may not. While we can destroy ourselves, no human can have, or destroy, her heritage of success.

But why would we? It seems that we too are borne of the essence, energy, zeal and drive that fashioned her greatness. We should all try to remember that in the interesting times that lie ahead.

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