“I don’t want the presents which
Contrary to your intention, are
The very denial of what you give.” -Ricardo Reis
It’s become so ingrained, the platitudes we offer Nature, and yet, there’s no clear sense of just who is to receive our intended gifts! But then offering a gift from a fearful distance may make one wonder if the real recipient is none but ourselves from the outset.
‘Nature’ is a concept and no matter how vague it may be, it’s a dominating concept, a ‘higher ideal.’ Just when we could move in closer, we keep our distance. Safe. Out of harms way. If we were to move close, we’d sense a thousand-million leaves, some of them thorny spines who want not our embraces; that black widow there; those ferns hanging by that spring and the fungi below our feet; all each unique. ‘Nature’ provides us with a wall of green at best. We can never turn toward it because there is no ‘it’ to turn toward — except our own reflection. ‘Nature’ a reflecting pool, our mirror.
Reverence toward ‘nature,’ only deepens our alienation from those we’ve already once denied our gifts. Do we not assume that gratitude is something we ought to show? Do we not stifle every opportunity for each of those ‘thousand-million leaves’ to be grateful for us, not only through our concept ‘nature,’ but in reverent feelings? Reverence isn’t rejoicing. That we con-fuse wariness with intimacy, awe with an embrace, is symptomatic of just how ill-constituted for joy we’ve become. (1)
Why the fearful distance?
Perhaps partly for the illusion of control (as has been pointed out by others). Control for our ‘well-being,’ our commerce, our ‘progress,’ and so forth. Maybe this is partly why we chose the name ‘nature.’ With only a touch of skepticism on our part we can see in this word the piece of arbitrariness which girds it. Namely, that ‘birth/generation’ supports us in every way: our food, the narcissism that all else is but a stage for our ‘human’ drama, to assuage our fear of death/disappearance, etc. That our well-being, that which we like, signs off for all which exists.
And maybe if we delve a bit more still we’ll find that if we move closer, to meet and mingle, with so many other unique ones, that not all are willing to become our friend, desire our intimacy or reciprocate our warm feelings. Again, there are spines and thorns, venom, running and hiding, camouflage, attacks…this in degrees and gradations not ‘either/or’ for not all desire our company in precisely the same way or manner.
And we fluctuate, change, as well. To forget this is to retain a bit of a belief of ‘afterlife,’ continuation of our ‘isness,’ that ‘no’ against living.
Yes! Sometimes we’re able to stand more, we’re stronger, more healthy, vibrant, full; and thus we can digest that which we previously believed cruel.
To be sure, ‘nature’ allows us to forget the ‘cruel facts’ in the very act ‘existing’ in order to revere ‘it’ and, conversely, condemn ‘it’ because of ‘its’ cruelty. Additionally, we can also blot out our own deep fear of rejection by those many we depend upon for our very existence. By relegating every unique one to ‘nature’ we’re able to deceive ourselves into believing we ‘know’ every one of the thousand-million leaves since we can talk among ourselves about them, with little to no play with them, and hence they reside always just below our self-presumed rank. We might not feel so alone with our own reflection, but this is only superstition arising once more, since we’re never truly isolated to begin with. We’re always accompanied by innumerable and often imperceptible relations.
That we simply don’t like the character of some of those relations, or conversely, to trumpet those selections loudly, says more about ‘us’ than it does all those we commit to our dyspeptic asylum, ‘nature.’ Might it be possible that a few arrive yet at a gastronomy where they find ‘nature’ completely abhorrent to their taste (as far too bland, at best) upon tasting the array of flavors available to them? To each I and You?
- ‘Revere’ and ‘wariness’ stem from the same root word