Here are my recent musings on Nature’s Web of Life.
This series of blog posts contains sources for my musings, my research, and my preparation for my student seminars. I am happy to share with you. If you find any of the articles interesting, I hope that you will offer your comments at the end of the list.
I am a deeply spiritual person when I am engaging Nature. In preparing a blog essay on the serene, the pristine, and the sacred voice of Nature, the resources listed below have inspired my thinking on this subject.
Henry Beston’s Beautiful 1948 Manifesto for Reclaiming Our Humanity by Breaking the Tyranny of Technology and Relearning to Be Nurtured by Nature.
Exploring Our Connections to Nature. In this environmental education lesson module, students will explore how their lives are linked to everything in their communities and ecosystems at varying scales. Through personal and group exploration, students will begin to understand our role in our ecosystem and how the decisions we make directly affect all living things.
Guy Tal is a deeply spiritual nature photographer who is a very gifted writer. Take a look at his blog.
Below are four of his wonderful essays
Spirituality Beyond Platitudes – Guy Tal
Restlessness – Guy Tal
By far, one of my favorite Guy Tal essays is paraphrased here:
The indispensable roles held for me are wilderness, solitude and art. Others like me are content with just a few significant human relationships and for whom life in the midst of humanity is unbearable – people who need such introspective moments as are to be found alone in deserts and mountains and forests and rivers and anywhere else yet unspoiled by industry, or when immersed in creative work for no other purpose than to nourish and sustain a part of ourselves that will otherwise wither and wilt, and without which our lives will be greatly diminished.
I come to wilderness places not only to be by myself, but to be myself – whole and separate, with nothing to prove or to explain, and so that I may face my challenges and inspirations without distraction, without being beholden to appearances and traditions, without the noise and clatter and prejudice of the human hives, without the constant tugging of matters trivial and mundane, and without concern or conjecture about what was and what is yet to come.
It may well be that my greater legacy will not be my art but rather yet another story of an improbable wanderer bewitched and transformed by this landscape, lured by the hope of finding meaning and redemption in its soulful wilds. That is enough for one man and one life. Even if it all comes to an end tomorrow, I am grateful for having lived such a life, and for the beauty and pain and people that made it possible and that helped me become who I am.
I have nothing to prove and no concern for any legacy. I am where I need to be and my priorities are sound, and my life is interesting and rewarding and exciting to me, and I am at peace with my choices and my convictions and my shortfalls and my pains.
I no longer visit wild places, I return to them; they are my home and my sanctuary, the source of my strengths and convictions and the wellspring of my inspiration and my support.
— Paraphrased from Guy Tal “Reentry” guytal.com
Here are some quotes from another favorite author of mine – Edward Abbey
I hold no preference among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous. – Desert Solitaire “Cliffrose and Bayonets”, p. 25 (1968)
The domination of nature leads to the domination of human nature. – Beyond The Wall: Essays from the Outside, 1971
There are no vacant lots in nature. – Desert Solitude, “The First Morning,” p.6, Ballantine Books, NY, NY, 1968
Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. – The Journey Home (1991) The Rape of the West p. 183
Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit. – Down the River, 148
Nature is indifferent to our love, but never unfaithful – A Voice Crying in the Wilderness, Notes from a Secret Journal, 1986, Ch,9 p86
A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.
— L.P. Jacks
I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
The solitary man can remember that all beauty in animals and plants is a silent, enduring form of love and yearning, and he can see the animal, as he sees plants, patiently and willingly uniting and multiplying and growing, not out of physical pleasure, not out of physical pain, but bowing to necessities that are greater than pleasure and pain, and more powerful than will and withstanding.
But everything that may someday be possible for many people, the solitary man can now, already, prepare and build with his own hands, which make fewer mistakes. Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away, you write, and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast. And if what is near you is far away, then your vastness is already among the stars and is very great; be happy about your growth, in which of course you can’t take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn’t necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust.
Don’t ask for any advice from them and don’t expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.
But your solitude will be a support and a home for you, even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances, and from it you will find all your paths.
– Rilke Letters to a Young Poet
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.