When we stand beneath the night sky, we stand beneath the history of the whole of creation. It is a miracle that so much of it is perceptible — a miracle we might appreciate more if it had not occurred and we did not have senses to discern it.
What humbugs we are, who pretend to live for Beauty, and never see the Dawn!
I always think of nature as a great spectacle, somewhat resembling the opera.
Every year, back comes Spring, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants.
It has always been part of basic human experience to live in a culture of wilderness. There has been no wilderness without some kind of human presence for several hundred thousand years. Nature is not a place to visit, it is home.
When I turn away from nature — human, animal, earthly or cosmic — when I turn away, that is, from intimate livingness, it means, simply and always, that I am afraid.
A man who lives with nature is used to violence and is companionable with death. There is more violence in an English hedgerow than in the meanest streets of a great city.
That’s the problem with nature. Something’s always stinging you or oozing mucus on you. Let’s go watch TV.
Just as language has no longer anything in common with the thing it names, so the movements of most of the people who live in cities have lost their connection with the earth; they hang, as it were, in the air, hover in all directions, and find no place where they can settle.
In Rome you long for the country; there, you praise to the skies the city you’ve just left.
What sublime thoughts filled my mind as I bent to the wind, and trudged through the gorse and heather? I will tell you. I was wondering how much money I shall make out of my next book. Thus does nature keep us in touch with the great realities of existence.
I have never felt salvation in nature. I love cities above all.
What greater folly can be imagined than to call gems, silver, and gold “noble” and earth and dirt “base”? For do not these persons consider that, if there were as great a scarcity of earth as there is of jewels and precious metals, there would be no king who would not gladly give a heap of diamonds and rubies and many ingots of gold to purchase only so much earth as would suffice to plant a jessamine in a little pot or to set a tangerine in it, that he might see it sprout, grow up, and bring forth such goodly leaves, fragrant flowers, and delicate fruit?
Of all the language sources, the loss of nature seems the saddest. A thousand times a day, nature — in the most ordinary of places — has something to tell or show us; something it wants us to touch, smell, or feel; something it wants all of us, not just the overtly artistic, to express.
I stand holding the apple in both hands. It feels precious, like a heavy treasure. I lift it up and smell it. It has such an odor of outdoors on it I want to cry.
For us who live in cities Nature is not natural. Nature is supernatural. Just as monks watched and strove to get a glimpse of heaven, so we watch and strive to get a glimpse of earth. . . . It is as if men had cake and wine every day but were sometimes allowed common bread.
I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.
They say that every snowflake is different. If that were true, how could the world go on? How could we ever get up off our knees? How could we ever recover from the wonder of it?