My favorite nature metaphors are:
- Nature is king
- Nature is our mother
- Nature is home
- Nature is an antidote
- Nature is therapy
To turn them into similes, simply inset like: nature is like our king, etc.
Below, I have a full list of metaphors and similes that I could come up with for this topic, with explanations for each.
1. Nature is King
When we call nature ‘king’, we don’t mean it sits on a throne and wears a crown. Rather, we’re implying that it is a dominant force.
If a hurricane comes roaring through your hometown, there’s not much you can do to stop it. That’s why we call it “a force of nature”! You can’t control the rain or the height of the mountains.
And we know that, even if we humans all died out, nature would adapt and go on forever. It will outlast us all.
2. Nature is our Mother
We often refer to nature and earth as the ‘mother’. This is because we see it as a nurturer.
Nature gives us food, water and even shelter. It provides for us. If you’re skilled enough, you could even live out in nature forever. You just need to know which berries to eat, how to make shelter, and which streams to drink from!
Many of us think we even come from nature. We might have shared common ancestors with animals out there in the jungle, if we go back far enough through our evolutionary timelines.
3. Nature is Home
Some people might go out into nature and feel a sense of a ‘return to home’. We come from here. Before we developed houses and cities, we lived off the land. We spent our lives in amongst nature all day seeking out food and supplies.
But you might also feel that nature is ‘home’ simply because it’s the place where you feel most comfortable.
You get a sense that you’re returning somewhere you love, where you can be yourself, and feel like there are no worries in the world.
4. Nature is Therapy
We use time within nature as an escape from the hustle and bustle of life in the cities. We can come back from a hike or camping trip feeling refreshed and clear-headed, ready to take on the world again.
Sometimes, being away from the hustle and bustle of society for a while is as good as a holiday or even going to a therapist. We also often use the concept of ‘shopping therapy’, which refers to going shopping as a way to decompress and brighten our moods.
5. Nature is God
Many pantheists believe that god and nature are identical. Nature is divine. For these people, there is no personal god who knows you and looks out for you. Instead, their view of religion is that divinity can be found in nature.
Others, such as some Christians, see nature as an expression of god. They will often use the marvel of nature as evidence of god’s existence. For these people, nature is not god, so this metaphor wouldn’t work for them.
6. Nature is an Invader / Nature Intrudes
Plants have a remarkable way of taking over areas that humans have abandoned. We have a nature idiom that goes: “nature abhors a vacuum”, meaning that nature sees empty spaces and fills them in.
You might use this metaphor if you walk into an abandoned house in the forest and see trees and vines are growing throughout the building. You might say: “Nature has invaded this house and reclaimed it as its own.”
7. Nature is Retreating
If we can say nature can invade, we could sit it can also retreat.
We are using war metaphors here. Nature doesn’t literally ‘invade’ or ‘retreat’.
But when talking about the expansion of cities, expansive timber industries, and the clearing of land for agriculture, we could look at nature as being ‘on the retreat’. Where there were once forests, there are now towns and cities.
8. Nature Blankets the Landscape
If you look out over a landscape and see nature everywhere, you could say that it ‘blankets’ the landscape.
We’re not saying there’s literally a blanket out there.
Rather, we mean that nature is covering the landscape (just like how a blanket covers a bed).
This metaphorical language can give us a sense of nature being everywhere. We’ll often use it when referring to snow, when we say that ‘snow blankets the landscape’, which means there is snow covering everything you can see.
9. Nature is Furious Today
This is an example of a type of metaphor called a personification metaphor. We use these metaphors when we give non-human things characteristics of humans.
For example, only humans can be furious.
But, for this metaphor, we’re saying that nature is furious, as if it’s got a brain and emotions.
If we were to imagine what “furious nature” looks like, we might picture a day that’s stormy and windy. There might be fierce rains and lightning on the horizon. And you might look outside and say: “wow, nature is furious today.”
10. Nature is an Antidote
This can also be said as: “nature is the best medicine”.
It means that sometimes going outside and spending time with nature can make you feel a lot better. It might even make you feel better than taking medicine.
A walk in the woods is a refreshing way to clear your head. It might also be good for your body because it gets fresh air into your lungs and gives you some great exercise.
11. Nature is the Best Playground
When we think of a playground, we think of swing sets and monkey bars.
But we can also have a lot of fun just playing in the forest. Children have dozens of trees to climb on and logs to balance on. Adults can go for long, fulfilling hikes and look out for animals through the leaves.
12. Nature is the Best Teacher
There is a lot we can learn from nature.
We can look to animals to learn about the cycle of life and how to survive and adapt. We can also look to the ‘laws of nature’ using the scientific method to learn engineering, evolution, and all sorts of other scientific discoveries.
You could also go out into nature and sit in silence to clear your head and change your way of thinking, allowing you to create mental breakthroughs as well.
13. Nature is the Best Artist
Many artists paint portraits of natural things – landscapes, animals, trees and plants.
This is, perhaps, because they’re trying to replicate the things that are most beautiful in this world.
We often see some of the greatest beauty in nature. The greens in spring can be a marvel. So, too, can the flowers.
So to say that ‘nature is the best artist’ is to say that some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring sights are found in nature.
Metaphors Related to Nature
While the above metaphors are directly about nature, here are some that focus on elements of nature.
- Snow is a Blanket across the Landscape
- The Snow is a Sea across the Landscape
- The Snow is Icecream Spilled over the Hills
Read More: Snow Metaphors
- The Rain is a Wall out There
- The Rain is Daggers from the Sky
- The Rain is a Gift to Farmers
Read More: Rain Metaphors
- Trees are Giants
- Trees are Matchsticks on the Landscape
- Trees are Wise Old Men
Read More: Tree Metaphors
- The Sun is a Coin in the Sky
- The Sun is a Switch flicked Twice a Day
- The Sun is Shy Today
Read More: Sun Metaphors
- The Birds are Nature’s Choir
- A Bird is a Messenger from God
- Those Chirping Birds are Rowdy Kids in a Schoolyard
- The Mountains are Giants
- The Mountains are Walls on the Horizon
- The Mountains are Old Friends
Our awe and admiration for nature means we have come up with many figurative ways to talk about it. These nature metaphors on this list are just a few that you could use to explore and explain nature in ways that paint a picture in your reader’s mind.
If none of these metaphors or similes are useful to you, you can make up your own. What does nature remind you of? You can say it is something else to create a metaphor or is like something else to create a simile.
I’m a Scorpio, I love the outdoors, and I’ve written articles in some major online publications like Medium and The Weekly. My favorite metaphor? Anything that’s got to do with baseball. I’m fascinated by the fact our language has baseball weaved all through it. Read more about me here.