The transition that occurs in the Rocky Mountain spring season is miraculous. Our historic winter weather pattern has created an ecosystem adapted to periodic dormancy. The miracle is that after enduring all of the climatic harshnesses, the native flora and fauna can turn a blind eye to the past and march forward into a new stage of life.
Winter can be insulting. The potential for extreme cold, periodic warming trends followed by more cold temperatures, wind, drought, snow accumulation, and icy precipitation concocts a regular recipe for confusion, disillusionment, stress, and even mortality of indigenous inhabitants. I find the natural world’s adaptation to these diverse trials nothing short of awe-inspiring.
A unique characteristic shared by these plants and animals is that they shelter themselves during the most extreme climatic events and emerge anew without bitterness or guile when the trend passes. Regardless of the trials faced — they accept the reality of the moment, forgive any past infractions, and move forward with an unbiased zeal for the future.
Human hubris will often distance itself from the patterns set in our environmental surroundings. Rooted firmly in the ground of spring 2021, I would propose the question, “is our reality that different from the spring reemergence in the Nevada-Utah Mountains Semidesert – Coniferous Forest – Alpine Meadow Province?”
A fundamental behavioral divergence of our genus and species from the natural world is that the other life forms tend to forgive innately. Human beings intrinsically hold grudges. However, our sentience and ability to take cognizance will also provide us the capacity for choice. ‘To forgive’ is a verb in the same light as ‘to offend’ or ‘to be offended.’ All of these actions require implementation from the individual — which means that, whether aware of it or not, one may actively choose their reaction to any given trial or circumstance.
The renowned English poet Alexander Pope explored this concept in this oft-quoted heroic couplet:
Ah ne’er so dire a Thirst of Glory boast,
Nor in the Critick let the Man be lost!
Good-Nature and Good-Sense must ever join;
To err is Humane; to Forgive, Divine.
(Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism, Part II, 1711)
While a certain level of subjectivity exists amongst the definition of divinity, all will agree that it is a standard that exists well above our natural-born ‘human’ state. The difference between ability and skill is that abilities are innate, while skills require development. In the human experience, one must proactively choose forgiveness as a path and learn how to develop this skill and virtue throughout a lifetime.
Forgiveness is a concept as old as humanity. Nearly every significant culture and religion in human history have recorded a definition for this action, and most are very similar. If we once again consider the transition from winter dormancy to spring awakening: should the dormant tree choose to dwell on the events of the winter past, then it will fail to leaf out in the spring, and its demise will quickly follow. Unfortunate circumstances and less than ideal life events outside of one’s control are inevitable. Forgiveness is the fundamental skill behind recovery, the state of positivity, optimism, and ultimately, happiness.
The challenge I issue to the Heber Valley for the spring of 2021 is not a light one. Inventory the top three offenses harbored in your life (you know, the big ones held close to your identity) — and choose to let them go without qualifications. Engage positivity and optimism. Think bigger than yourself. Create the future that we all want to live. Let us anew. If you do this, you will change yourself at your core, find happiness, and brighten the lives of all those you encounter.
Thank you, once again, for your support of Heber Valley Life magazine. The feedback we have received from the Heber Valley has kept us buoyant in the past year’s storm. I hope you find the contents of this spring 2021 release as genuine and uplifting as the Heber Valley is today.