Back to Nature (Published on - Sept. 22, 2004)
Points of no return
Oh Great Spirit
Whose voice I hear in the winds
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
Hear me! I am small and weak, I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset …
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.

– Traditional Native American Prayer

There are points of no return.

There are points of rebuilding, but on some occasions there are points of no return. There are times when the damage is so severe you can’t ever go back to what was. There are times when the damage has gone so deep that no matter what measures are taken the wounds will never heal.

A mayor with sunken eyes stands up to a podium and declares, “This community will recover but we will never be innocent again. We will always remember the pain shared here today.”

They know. The mayor knows. There are points of no return.

Landscapes eventually rehabilitate. A new world may emerge after the storm. What was, may not be again. There may be no point of return but instead life is launched from a new threshold. Eggs become fledglings. Caterpillars become beautiful butterflies. We are all changing and coping, but we may not actually repair.

I grew up in the Deep South. We children ran pretty much free in the fields and upon the mountains. We discovered many things and learned many lessons from nature.

Our large front porch faced the rising sun. It had been hand built upon hand cut stones. Over the years the chinking loosened. Soft, black soil replaced those compromises. Within these spaces blue-tailed lizards called home. They would lay upon the stones in the early morning drinking in the sun. Their azure tails glowed luminescent with life, as if a string of precious cobalt jewels.

We were young. We were not aware of the affairs or morals of the world. Soon we discovered that the blue-tailed lizard would forfeit its tail to escape our grasping hands. Many a lizard lost its tail that spring. We would wrap the tail around our arms and pretend we were glorified in priceless jewelry, but soon the beauty faded and the tail fell limp with no color.

At first I couldn’t comprehend what had happened. What could cause such a drastic change? Where did the color go? Did it leak out? How can such beauty disappear?

This 5-year-old girl sat on the front step and watched the lizards dart to and fro along the stony ledge. Back and forth from sun to darkness they moved in stunning blues and greens, shimmering as the sun caught each scale. I reached out one last time. The tail predictably broke. I laid the shimmering piece of flesh upon my wrist and stared at it as it faded upon my skin. As I watched I realized that life itself was seeping from this dismembered part. I realized that without life there was no beauty. Without beauty there is no life – point of no return.

These aren’t simply lessons learned; they are new beginnings. For whatever cause or reason they are turning points.

Some people continue upon old worn paths. Beauty is lost upon this person and their touch. Beauty fades within lost innocence. Notice this in the slump of a shoulder or the dark, far away stare of a child’s eyes. Without a chance to change, grow, dream and wonder beauty fades like the indigo colors in the tail of the lizard. Look into the eyes of your loved ones. What do you see?

Life is full of the beauty of change. There may be no point of return, but what lies ahead can be like the song of the cardinal heralding spring. Nature is always changing. Seek beauty, harmony and balance. What comes of one change is a new beginning of another. Allow yourself and your children the chance to dream and wonder, as always back to nature.

Life is the Sacred Mystery singing to itself, dancing to its drum, telling tales, improvising, playing and we are all that Spirit, our stories all but one cosmic story that we are love indeed, that perfect love in me seeks the love in you, and if our eyes could ever meet without fear we would recognize each other and rejoice for love is life believing in itself.
– Manitongquat

Karen can be reached at

Copyright © 2004-2017 Karen Mitchell Tremmel, All Rights Reserved.
All text in this site is original and copyrighted by the author, who writes for a living. Please do not reproduce in whole or part without permission, except for brief quotations covered under the "Fair Use" provision of U.S. copyright law. Thanks.