Sunday, 24 April 2011

It Is One More Word Uttered By Nature

“For some people, perhaps especially for Englishmen and Russians, what we call “the love of nature” is a permanent and serious sentiment. I mean here that love of nature which cannot be adequately classified as simply an instance of our love for beauty. Of course, many natural objects – trees, flowers, and animals – are beautiful. But the nature lovers whom I have in mind are not very much concerned with individual beautiful objects of that sort. The man who is distracts them. An enthusiastic botanist is for them a dreadful companion on a ramble. He is always stopping to draw their attention to particulars. Nor are they looking for “views” or landscapes. Wordsworth, their spokesman, strongly deprecates this. It leads to “a comparison of scene with scene,” makes you “pamper” yourself with “meager novelties of color and proportion.” While you are busying yourself with this critical and discriminating activity, you lose what really matters – the “moods of time and season,” the “spirit” of the place. And, of course, Wordsworth is right. That is why, if you love nature in his fashion, a landscape painter is (out of doors) an even worse companion than a botanist.

It is the “moods” or the “spirit” that matter. Nature lovers want to receive as fully as possible whatever nature, at each particular time and place, is, so to speak, saying. The obvious richness, grace, and harmony of some scenes are no more precious to them than the grimness, bleakness, terror, monotony, or “visionary dreariness” of others. The featureless itself gets from them a willing response. It is one more word uttered by nature. They lay themselves bare to the sheer quality of every countryside, every hour of the day. They want to absorb it into themselves, to be colored through and through by it.”

CS Lewis
Hat tip to Wandering Owl who found this.

Off to the milds of East Sussex in search of Roe Bucks and Muntjac (don't you wish you had our interlocking deer seasons?)
More soon