Animals Are Other Nations

I am deeply moved by this quote from Henry Beston. For, with his words, he paints a metaphor about interrelationships within Nature and, in words far better than mine, he states the credo of this blog site .

Please stop for a moment and allow Henry Beston’s words “transport you to a quiet place where the wind through the dune grass is the only sound that strikes your ear.

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by Beach-0918complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth. For the gifts of life are the earth’s, and they are given to all, and they are the songs of birds at daybreak, Orion and the Bear, and dawn seen over ocean from the beach.”

–From: The Outermost House: A Year of Life On the Great Beach Of Cape Cod

Beston’s book is available on Amazon where a reviewer offers the following:
The Outermost House is a classic, not just of natural history literature, but of American literature. If you love the outdoors, or the sea, or prose that flows like poetry, you should keep this small book always nearby. The harried introvert will especially appreciate it: reading even a page or two will transport you to a quiet place where the wind through the dune grass is the only sound that strikes your ear.

Beach-2587In addition to being a great writer, Beston is an acute observer biological phenomena, and not a bad theorist either. His discourse on the relationship other animals bear to us (“They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations…”) does more to unlink the Great Chain of Being than any philosophical essay. And Beston’s influence has been wide-ranging, not only among natural history writers, but among writers in general. Some books are so memorable that parts of them become internalized on first reading. The first time I read The Outermost House, its final sentence became mine. Now, I pass it on to you: 

For the gifts of life are the earth’s, and they are given to all, and they are the songs of birds at daybreak, Orion and the Bear, and dawn seen over ocean from the beach.’ “

 

Worth Your Extra Attention :

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My name is Bill Graham. As a Marine Biologist who has worked in the US and Mexico for 30 years, I am a student of Nature, a teacher, a researcher, and a nature photographer. Through my work, I have acquired an ever growing passion for how everything in Nature is connected. Today, I travel extensively contemplating about, writing about, and photographing Nature’s connections. I also work with conservation projects in the USA and Mexico and mentor talented youth.

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