Friday, April 01, 2011
But it doesn’t stop us, bloggers and Flickrs and just plain snappers, from indulging in the global festival of digital photography, that celebrates “I woz here!”—though mainly in the sunshine. In my outdoor shots, it’s usually sunny, just as in old family albums you see only high days, holidays and picnics. Photos help me remember where I’ve been and what I did, in this instance stroll by a stream in the public park, on Tuesday 15th March.
What is it that we respond to in Nature? Why does it lift my soul—or rather remind me what soul is?* The question has been asked by poet-philosophers enough times. This is Wordsworth having a go, in Tintern Abbey:
Though absent long,
These forms of beauty have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man’s eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and ’mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
With tranquil restoration: . . .
Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened:—that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on,
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.
Never mind the ‘Absolute’†. If there must be a label for some nameless thing that I get from Nature, let it be the ‘Sublime’, for that’s what Wordsworth calls it, later in the same poem:
And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.
We just have to be naked enough to let ourselves be touched, so that the fetters which circumscribe us may fall off, letting us embrace, and be embraced by, the All.
* Annie Dillard advises writers to avoid use of the word ‘soul’. Well, note this, Annie, you are not my mentor and I am not a ‘writer’!
† As in my previous post.
PS Damn, I’ve inadvertently written a sermon. Please forgive.
Posted by Vincent at 11:49 am