Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

Busy with work and school, I appropriate some words of Emerson that have been on my mind for the past few days. These, from one of his essays on nature, speak further on the immediacy of nature in the mind.
“There are days which occur in this climate, at almost any season of the year, wherein the world reaches its perfection, when the air, the heavenly bodies, and the earth, make a harmony, as if nature would indulge her offspring; when, in these bleak upper sides of the planet, nothing is to desire that we have heard of the happiest latitudes, and we bask in the shining hours of Florida and Cuba; when everything that has life gives sign of satisfaction, and the cattle that lie on the ground seem to have great and tranquil thoughts. These halcyons may be looked for with a little more assurance in that pure October weather, which we distinguish by the name of Indian Summer. The day, immeasurably long, sleeps over the broad hills and warm wide fields. To have lived through all its sunny hours, seems longevity enough. The solitary places do not seem quite lonely. At the gates of the forest, the surprised man of the world is forced to leave his city estimates of great and small, wise and foolish. The knapsack of custom falls off his back with the first step he makes into these precincts. Here is sanctity which shames our religions, and reality which discredits our heroes. Here we find nature to be the circumstance which dwarfs every other circumstance, and judges like a god all men that come to her. We have crept out of our close and crowded houses into the night and morning, and we see what majestic beauties daily wrap us in their bosom. How willingly we would escape the barriers which render them comparatively impotent, escape the sophistication and second thought, and suffer nature to entrance us. The tempered light of the woods is like a perpetual morning, and is stimulating and heroic. The anciently reported spells of these places creep on us. The stems of pines, hemlocks, and oaks, almost gleam like iron on the excited eye. The incommunicable trees begin to persuade us to live with them, and quit our life of solemn trifles. Here no history, or church, or state, is interpolated on the divine sky and the immortal year. How easily we might walk onward into opening landscape, absorbed by new pictures, and by thoughts fast succeeding each other, until by degrees the recollection of home was crowded out of the mind, all memory obliterated by the tyranny of the present, and we were led in triumph by nature.”

3 comments:

WindWhisperer said...

Hi ER, I commented recently on a theology blog about nature's duality in working in tandem with "hell", according to the scriptures. Mother nature seems to have a dark side which can pop out like a jack-in-the-box. But for the most part, nature subliminates it's awesome power to allow our fragile lives to enjoy it and marvel at it's more exquisite facade.

Lovely thoughtful writing on your blog, I hope you don't mind me linking you...

E. R. Dunhill said...

windwhisperer,
That’s an interesting insight. It reminds me of the Puritans’ concept of nature; humanity aspires to reflect Godliness, while wilderness is regarded as the opposite of humanity, and by inference, is of the Devil.
Lately I’m thinking of nature in terms of simply being. It may seem dark or harsh that coyote takes rabbit, but this is the way of things. Coyote is not malicious, nor is rabbit evil for outrunning coyote and leaving his pups to starve.
In the context of Abrahamic faiths, one might think of this nature as the Law. In and of itself it is neither good nor evil (or is perhaps sacred insofar as being the product of Yahweh), but is the framework within which we persons exist. In this sense, nature becomes a medium rather than an enemy.
Which theology blogs do you read?

-erd

WindWhisperer said...

Hi ERD, the theology blogs I read are on my bloglist below my posts: 'Satire and Theology' (Russ is a PhD theology student), and Cantaur Blog, a broad based theology overview with a lot of interesting research, articles, links, etc.

I share your concept of nature as "simply being", it sits well with my desire to view all things as an integral part of a whole creation that extends far beyond the bounds of this planet. So although I would call nature 'divine', I wouldn't want to define it too specifically.