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Sunday, August 02, 2015
Nature's 'Free' Gifts (Peter Black)
It’s wonderful that nature offers so many
free gifts, for instance, the rapturous sight of a cardinal’s scarlet
plumage and the enchanting musicality of his sweet song to his mate. Necessary
to our experiencing and enjoying such things are the faculties of vision and
hearing and the mental capability of appreciating them.
numerous to mention, even in a single day, nature’s free gifts surround us and
enrich our lives. Several weeks ago my wife and I set out on what we expected
to be a brief walk along a local trail. Several days before, we noted that the
wayside brambles were producing a fair crop of berries, although most were far
from ripe – green, with some turning red.
nature surprised us during that next walk through the glen, for we spotted a
patch just ripe for the picking. We cut our walk even shorter and took to
picking the gleaming black morsels, instead. They’d ripened rapidly and weren’t
yet picked over by other blackberry lovers. May had a plastic bag handy, so we
got busy. I felt like a kid again and recalled the bountiful wild
blackberry-picking days of my childhood in England and Scotland.
berries are nature’s free gifts. Free to the birds and free to those of us who
take the time to pick them. But were they really free? We paid the price in
berry-stained clothes, mosquito bites and thorn pricks, and scratched-up legs,
because we hadn’t dressed suitably for the job, neither had we applied insect
experience kick-started me into ruminating about nature’s free gifts in the
wider sense – the air we breathe, the water we drink, among countless others. Although
humans can produce modest amounts of water through several chemical processes (such
as through the combustion of hydrocarbons and condensing the moisture
generated) we don’t actually create this essential element.
However, we are
realizing more and more that there’s a price to be exacted for failing to take
steps to protect nature's benefits from the environmental pollution that we’ve
generated. It also costs to protect ourselves directly from pollution and its consequences.
example, nature’s bountiful food from river, lake and sea has been there for
the human taking for millennia. But, as we now know, large-scale inadequately
managed resources and over-fishing have reduced stocks in many areas. Also,
chemical contamination from industrial effluent discharged into sewers and
rivers and the toxins generated from human activity, contained in soil run-off,
eventually find their way into the flesh of fish and marine life. These can potentially
cause sickness or disease in both animals and humans who consume them.
nothing to create the great reservoirs of crude oil underneath the ocean bed or
underground, yet its extraction and refining incurs great cost. Gold, silver and
gem mining are costly businesses, too, although they offer great rewards.
the other end of the scale, in the classical song, the boy who plucked the
pretty “rose so red, in the forest growing,” paid a price with a painful prick
and a bloody finger. Enough said, suffice it to say that nature’s free gifts do
have a cost at one point or another.
paid the price of providing the remedy for the pollution of our sins and
shortcomings, in giving His Son Jesus Christ up to the horrific death on the
cross of crucifixion. While many people scoff at this, there are yet others who,
embracing the message and receiving Jesus as Lord and Saviour, enjoy a restored
relationship with the Almighty.
I’m grateful for such a relationship with God and the profound sense of belonging, with grace and peace, that I’ve received. These are His free love gifts to us. Why would anyone refuse them?
The above piece was adapted from an article in Black's weekly column, P-Pep! published in The Watford Guide-Advocate, July 16, 2015.
Peter's second book is a compilation of inspirational articles on a variety of themes from his weekly column. These are interspersed with brief expressions intended to encourage. Ebook edition is now available through Amazon.
Peter's first book: “Parables from the Pond” – a children's / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing). Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to senior adults. Black's inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario.