“The strength we find within ourselves gives us endurance and perseverance.”
Ellen J. Barrier
Our challenge this week, Endurance, has caught me feeling a bit philosophical, as has Ailsa’s Travel Theme, Strong. As always, there are many ways to interpret the concepts. For some literal examples of both strength and endurance, I invite you to visit my previous posts on man-made masterpiece Angkor Wat, or natural phenomena like Patagonia’s Andes Mountains and the Giant Redwoods of California. This week however, after spending a day photographing some of Kiawah’s incredible nature, I’ve decided to address the challenges a bit more abstractly.
Take the butterflies above for example. These incredibly delicate creatures teach us the value of moving with the help of the wind rather than fighting it. How much more easily might we endure life’s challenges if we accepted the help of family and friends? What about the strength we might draw from spirituality or a belief in a higher power? Allowing others to support us during times of need can be a much-appreciated gift as we deal with life’s inevitable moments of crisis.
“Scars are not signs of weakness, they are signs of survival and endurance.”
Rodney A Winters
In the abstract above we see two examples of endurance. The reeds’ delicate stalks endure by bending gently rather than resisting the often-extreme coastal winds around them. The trees, on the other hand, survive by setting their roots deep in the soil and using their strength to hold themselves steady as the wind blows around rather than through them. So too must we decide whether to bend or to stand strong in the face of life’s challenges. There is a place for both reactions depending on a given situation.
“Endurance: It is the spirit which can bear things with blazing hope.”
Here, the lowly grasshopper. His lesson? That endurance can often be achieved by blending into our surroundings. Had I not stopped for a closeup of the flowers around him, I’d never have spotted him. His coloring and form are amazingly similar to that of a simple stick in a field of sticks and flowers. For us too there are times when laying low and remaining unobserved is the best response, and others when it’s important to stand up and be counted. Each individual must determine for him or herself where to draw their personal line.
“Stay determined to endure hard times. No situation is permanent.”
Lailah Gifty Akita
Finally, a young bobcat I happened upon during my photography outing. His endurance lesson features adaptability to change, and to taking advantage of available resources. As recently as 20 years ago, much of Kiawah was an undeveloped barrier island rich with ground cover and teeming with prey. Today the bobcat has learned to use our boardwalks and golf cart paths to traverse the island more quickly and easily. They protect themselves from the sun in the shade of our porches, and naturally manage our marsh rat and deer populations. Might we not benefit from learning that endurance often depends on accepting change and making the necessary adaptations?