Friday, August 19, 2016

Where Literature Meets Nature


With the heat wave that's going on right now, the approach of the new school year (aka next week), and hospitalized loved ones, these past few weeks have been c r a z y . But they're a good reminder of how important it is to appreciate little simple things for all they offer, and I'm going to go along with the random horoscope I read and say that the "power word" for the next few months is "change."  Embrace it, accept it, live with it.  It's challenging, but it can be meaningful. Change doesn't always mean bad...change can very often mean good. And it can encourage us to do things we otherwise might not have...like being a literature/history person and deciding to also pursue environmental science despite the fact that I'm not at all a scientist.  I have found, though, that there are many places where literature and nature overlap. My brother, ever the nature-lover, is reading The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery--a writer the Boston Globe described as "[p]art Emily Dickinson, part Indiana Jones."  Is that not one of the best combinations ever?  I think my favorite part of it is that Emily Dickinson is included because she loved the environment so much. I have an anthology of her poems, and it's divided up into different categories, one of the most well-known being "Nature." She cared so deeply for the natural world...she even had her own herbarium!  Seeing it is on my imaginary and unrecorded bucket list ;).  Another author who loved the natural world was, of course, the one and only Beatrix Potter.  Her enchantment with Earth isn't all that surprising given the fact that her illustrations and writings were all about plants and animals.

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Nature is what we see
by Emily Dickinson

“Nature” is what we see—
The Hill—the Afternoon—
Squirrel—Eclipse—the Bumble bee—
Nay—Nature is Heaven—
Nature is what we hear—
The Bobolink—the Sea—
Thunder—the Cricket—
Nay—Nature is Harmony—
Nature is what we know—
Yet have no art to say—
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity.
 
 

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