We are the blind, each calling out that which we are so sure we see. No longer aware that the sight we now marvel at is little more than one conceived and praised in our internal darkness... And what becomes of a world under such stewards like me?
If we can foster a freedom to flourish rather than our modern freedom of choice, and if we can recognize versions of a common good appropriate to different real entities of social order from the family to the town to the nation, integrated with the rest of nature at scales from the local and regional to the biosphere, then the need to impose order through laws and regulations is minimized, replaced by deliberative, cooperative action towards a common good.
Brown stresses the need to pay attention to “what God has said, and nature is his most primordial and exoteric word”; after all, within this word, human nature is situated too. But “[l]ess and less in our time and place do we hear the most primordial of God’s words—the song, one might say, of creation’s fundamental realities”; “[w]e have lost the ability to speak and understand the language of creation.” Where might we look for a remedy to this hearing loss?
We live in a society where lust, greed, gluttony, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride have been commercialized. When the self and its desires are everywhere celebrated, to contain the self is a form of revolt. There begins the path. There begins the search for the eternal things. The first step is to rediscover renunciation. “What does it mean?” Kingsnorth asks, “and how do you do it?” These questions are not glitzy; they are not click-bait.
I’d always wondered what woodland flowers had to do with morels and fishing. I’d also marveled about how robins knew when to return north or questioned why certain mayfly imitations work better than others during the opening weekend of trout season. What did one have to do with the other?
There is a significant difference between staring at a computer screen and seeing the world through a porch screen. Hailey emphasizes the benefits of seeing from the “threshold between stability and precariousness,” which is nothing like viewing the world from the comfort of a couch in an air-conditioned room, even if the porch is also comfortable.
Perhaps this, above all, is the work of nature writing: to bring the wild and the domestic together and to reveal the mystery at the heart of both. That Springer’s book consistently does this is enough to commend it as a constructive entry in this vexed genre.
What you miss out on by not making the climb is too great a loss on such a morning as this.
“Now nature makes nothing incomplete, and nothing in vain…” Aristotle, Politics Sometimes we might wonder about Aristotle. Was he observing the same world we are? One...