Without a doubt, my favorite TV programs are shows about the world of nature. What passes for “reality” shows can’t hold a candle to these, where you can see the moment-by-moment struggle for survival that creatures in the natural world face every day.
I like to call this Nature At Work.
Recently, as I was watching “Magic of the Snowy Owl” on the PBS Nature series, my attention alternated between two adult owls’ valiant attempts to raise their young in harsh conditions and the filmmakers working in those same harsh conditions to capture the year-long story.
Whether they’re covering frigid regions of the Arctic or blazing heat of the desert, those who brave the elements to bring us this rare footage have my eternal respect and gratitude. Because of their efforts, millions of people like me can witness marvels of nature that would otherwise be inaccessible.
As I see the world through their lenses, I often think about the personal strengths required for individuals who take on these challenges. These three stand out...
COURAGE. Many of these locations are remote and treacherous. It can be risky just to get to the destination. The dangers are real, even life-threatening at times. These adventures are not for the faint of heart! Lucky for us viewers, these hardy souls say “yes” to the opportunities and don’t let fear stop them.
Often the fears we experience in life are due to our own thoughts and imagination. Unlike the filmmakers, the dangers we perceive do not exist in reality. Examine your fears and figure out what you can do to work through them and take action.
“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.” - Thucydides, Greek historian (C. B.C. 460-400)
PATIENCE. What we see on the screen in a two-minute clip may have taken weeks or months of waiting for just the right moment. It’s about being in the right place at the right time, allowing the action to come to them and not trying to rush the shot.
Do you sometimes want to hurry things along, just to get to closure according to your own time frame? Not everyone moves at the same pace you do, and you may need to let things unfold in their natural way. Trying to push can be counter-productive.
“Some things arrive on their own mysterious hour, on their own terms and not yours, to be seized or relinquished forever.” - Gail Godwin, American novelist (1937- )
PERSEVERANCE. There must be moments when the crew is tempted to throw in the towel and say, “That’s it! No more!” Like when hundreds of mosquitoes are attacking their exposed skin. Or toes and fingers are getting frost-bitten. Adverse weather conditions and physical discomfort would send less committed people running for the hills. And yet these dedicated individuals stay until they get the job done…no matter what.
What kinds of obstacles cause you to quit? Can you stick with it just a little longer even when you feel like giving up? Often breakthroughs come at the moment when you feel you can’t take one more step.
“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” - Harriet Beecher Stowe, American novelist (1811-1896)
Next time you watch a nature program, think about the courage, patience and perseverance required to capture those moments, and you will have a deeper appreciation for the unique opportunity you’ve been given to see “nature at work.”