Nature Worship

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Here I am in a natural setting, with nature close at hand. From these windows I can see mountains, a mercury-smooth lake with fish breaking its silvery sheet, and trees aspiring for the sky. I hear a red squirrel chattering from one of those trees, and the call of a lonely osprey looking for its morning meal. It took a day of arduous travel to get here, and I am staring at a computer screen as nature puts on her show for me. I think, “it’ll still be there when I get done.” Then I think about what I think. Will it be there? This world we’re creating in our own image demands more and more of the planet we inhabit. To which we feel entitled. As I stood at the airport staring at the monitor, I couldn’t believe that my flight had been cancelled. What? I arrived at the airport at 5 a.m., flew countless miles, only to have you tell me my flight has been cancelled? Am I not owed better than this?

This attitude, I reflect, may be what brought us to such a place to begin with. This incredibly beautiful world was never ours to own. We’re guests. Invited perhaps, but guests nevertheless. And we all know that guests are supposed to be gracious and to act as if they wish to be invited back. So why am I rudely sitting here, ignoring my host? We are part of nature, but we tend to think of those closely attuned to nature as “uncivilized.” They don’t dress like city dwellers. Their hair is worn differently. They value things money can’t buy. They don’t play the entrepreneur’s game.

I travel to “get away from it all.” That which I’m getting away from is my life every other day of the year. How did we come to call this “civilized”? There’s no denying the creature comforts of a place to call home and a routine that seldom varies. But sitting here, amid nature, I realize the tremendous cost. Even as soon as it began to warm up in New Jersey we tried to carve out the time to explore local parks. To be outdoors among nature before heading back to the office on Monday. The whole point of worship is to break the flow of everyday time. To stop and think of the good that we have been invited to enjoy. I find myself amid this splendor, and I sit at my computer while nature awakens around me.

2 responses to “Nature Worship

  1. Our environment effects our thinking, as well as our perception and sense of being in the world. We don’t normally notice this, until our environment changes. I don’t travel much (I’m lucky to take a major trip every few years and even then I rarely travel far). So I don’t experience that shift as often as some.

    I do try to get out into the local areas of what goes for wilderness in Iowa. But there are no mountain lakes here, much less mountains. There are no vast tracts of forest, prairie, or desert. Iowa has the highest percentage of developed land as compared to all other states. I’m surrounded by and regularly interact with rural folk, but they are of the farmland variety.

    In a farm state, the clear message is that all of nature is meant for humanity’s use. Even living in a city, I’m surrounded by farmland, only taking 15 minutes from downtown to a cornfield or soybean field. I must admit that farmland has never put me in a worshipful state of mind. Finding some small creek helps me appreciate nature more than anything.

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    • Quite so! I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Iowa myself (I was married there and still have family in the state). It definitely has its own natural beauty. I encourage experiencing the outdoors whenever possible. Even in New Jersey we have quite a few options. Manhattan, for me, is very hard on the soul.

      Liked by 1 person

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