|Vol. III, No. 28 March 6, 1950 Annas Four – Air Mail-/4/6|
There is danger in these modern times that we may get away from Nature. Mankind is massing itself more and more in cities. With our brick, steel, and asphalt, we wall out the sights and sounds of the world which God created. We wall on brick and stone, between walls of steel and marble which rise so high that they cut into narrow strips the wide splendor of heaven’s blue. And thus surrounded by things which man has made, we are in peril of losing that sensitiveness to natural beauty and that freshness and vividness of feeling without which the soul is maimed, and the joy of living sinks to a lower key.
Turned Our Backs
The physicians tell us that as a people we are sowing feverish and nervous, fidgety and peevish, and that more and more we are becoming the victims of worry and kindred dispositions which undermine nerves. One of the reasons is that too many of us have turned our back on nature. We have lived too exclusively in a man-made world. Through the day we work in home or office, school or shop, holding our eyes fixed on our special task, never finding time to take one good long look upward. We have become so near-sighted that we cannot see the pageantry of the clouds. When we fail to develop a human capacity, we consent to become something less than what we might have been. It was for a long time supposed by pious people of a kind, that when the apostle tells us not to love the world, he means the world of nature. Many a saint of the olden time thought he dis-honoured God in admiring God's creation. Stories are told of a holy man who travelled all day along the shore of the lake of Geneva and never once turned his head to see it. But this mediaeval attitude to nature is rapidly disappearing. Ever since the days of Wordsworth, men and women have been going in increasing numbers to the world of naturf for stimulus and uplift.
The Great Truths
Nature is a physician as well as a prophet. She lays her cool hand upon us, and takes the fever from our blood. In our toils and trials we become agitated, and she quiets us. The days bring many things to excite us, but she gives us calm. She is never in a hurry; she is never frustrated.
She corrects our abnormal self-consciousness. Modern life conspires to fix our attention on our-selves. We are driven to think much about our house, our dress, our rank, our fortune, our dignity. We become morbidly self-conscious. We make ourselves larger than we are, Small things assume exaggerated proportions. We lose life's correct perspective. In spite of ourselves, we become inflated, thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. We go to Nature, and she humbles us. In her presence we realise our littleness. On the mountain top we seem to be a fly or a beetle, on the sea we are a fleck of foam, in the mountain forest we are an insect. Under the stars we confess that we are nothing. In the great Temple of Nature our conceit lies down and dies. Consider the lilies.Consider the mosses, the ferns and the lichens. Consider the grasses, shrubs, the trees and especially the leaves of the trees.
Nature Betongs To You
You are “owner of the sphere, of the seven stars and the solar year,” It is a mistake to suppose that nature belongs exclusively to scientists and poets; it belongs to everybody. The poorest of us has a claim on this great estate. We can have as much of it as we are able or willing to use. No matter how much of it we take to ourselves, no one else is made the poorer. There is enough for all, and to spare,
Ten thousand can partake of the sunset, and of the fragments remaining there will be enough to feed ten thousand more. When we come to nature, we come to a banquet spread by the Almighty. All mankind is invited to the feast, and for each one a place is provided.
There is no need of scrambling or grabbing; everyone can take as much as he will. Nature stands saying, “Ho, everyone that thirsteth come ye to the water; and he that hath no money, come, buy, and eat.”
Nature is our friend. She has always been our ally, and she wants to be our comrade. She wants to tell us something. She wants to help us live, If we heed her call, she binds up our wounds imparts to us precious secrets, pours into our blood fresh streams of vigour, and brings us nearer Him who is the maker and ruler of all things and the life of all.
-By UC Chopra