By Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is nothing more vital to humankind than the natural world, and nothing so abused and taken for granted.
Nature embraces us everyday with subtle wonders and delights. Nature nourishes and sustains our physical beings, and inspires and expands our minds and spirits.
And in this philosophical exploration of humanity’s relationship with the natural world. Emerson‘S thoughts carry readers from one application to another, analyzing our various practical and creative uses for nature. Chapters carry us upward from Nature as Commodity to Nature as Beauty; from its influence on Language and instruction in Discipline to the attainment of Idealism and Spirit.
We learn that Nature is more than the wallpaper of our lives. It is an instructor of morals, the provider of symbols for human language. As Emerson says:
Have mountains and waves and skies no significance but what we consciously give them, when we employ thems as emblems of our thoughts? The world is emblematic. Parts of speech are metaphors because the whole of nature is a metaphor of the human mind. The laws of moral nature answer to those of matter as face to face in a glass.
I found the sweeping currents of Emerson’s words to be an opening for my own contemplation and exploration of Nature. But the book is not an easy read. Writing in the meandering style of his time, the author expects his lines to be read more as poetry, to be savored and carefully chewed to extract every nuance of meaning.
Reading Nature is not a walk in the park, but a woodland hike meant to enliven and strengthen the adventurous heart. So glad I accepted the challenge.