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Monday, September 8, 2014

Thinking About Nature

I need to walk in the woods more. I am a member at the Morton Arboretum outside Chicago, and get there far less than I would like. And I did hike in The Rockie Mountains recently. But I read today a passage in a beautifully written book I picked up recently. The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich. It's creative nonfiction, a memoir of sorts, and it is stunning. Like all good creative nonfiction, the pieces in this collection are about far more than they first imply.

In an essay entitled "On Water," Ehrlich writes about life, it's changing, evolving nature and its magical link to nature itself.

"Everything in nature invites us constantly to be what we are. We are often like rivers: careless and forceful, timid and dangerous, lucid and muddied, eddying, gleaming, still. Lovers, farmers, and artists have one thing in common, at least -- a fear of dry spells, dormant periods in which we do no blooming, internal droughts only the waters of imagination and psychic release can civilize. Too little water brings on the weeds, while too much degrades the soil the way too much easy money can trivialize a person's initiative. In his journal, Thoreau wrote, "a man's life should be as fresh as a river. It should be the same channel but a new water every instant."


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