Nature Views and Viewpoints for September

I have learned to look on nature, not as in the hour

Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes

The still sad, music of humanity,

Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power

To chasten and subdue. And I have felt

A presence that disturbs me with the joy

Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime

Of something far more deeply interfused,

Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,

And the round ocean and the living air,

And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:

A motion and a spirit, that impels

All thinking things, all objects of all thought,

And rolls through all things.

From "The Tables Turned" by William Wordsworth

Is it wholly fantastic to admit the possibility that nature herself strove toward what we call beauty? Face to face with any one of the elaborate flowers which man's cultivation has had nothing to do with, it does not seem fantastic to me. We put survival first. But when we have a margin of safety left over, we expend it in the search for the beautiful. Who can say that nature does not do the same?

From "What Are Flowers For?" by Joseph Wood Krutch. This tree fungus, which my wife spotted while we were hiking near Lake George, is obviously not a flower. But it is flower-like to me in its beauty - the striking color, the delicateness of the fungi, and the pattern with which they emerge from the tree trunk. The image certainly evokes a much different reaction than does the word "fungus."

Here's your friendly telecommuting consultant, and his wife Ellen, well into the woods along the shore of Lake George in upstate New York. (Don't worry - I promise not to show up at my next consulting or speaking engagement looking like this...). "In country, as in people, a plain exterior often conceals hidden riches, to perceive which requires much living in and with," wrote Aldo Leopold in his essay "Country."

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