With the arrival of Spring, we can look forward to once again resuming our walks through greening fields and forests teeming with life, heady with the elixirs of rejuvenation. I think back, as well, to the almost daily pad abouts over the past sixteen years with my dogs through regional parks and local nature preserves.
Almost always, those ambles filled me with a quiet but abiding bonheur and wonderment at the sheer beauty of nature... even when it wasn't particularly spectacular or stunning. It is the same for all of us who are given to hiking, back-packing, or sailing.
Those of us so given, say to ourselves "Oh, how beautiful!" -- or rather more biblically -- "It is good". These words -- "good" and "beautiful" -- are actually just translations of a deeper, clearer feeling; but since we are also given to talking, they will have to do.
And yet, as often as I felt to myself "good" and "beautiful", my rational and cynical mind would interject: "For you perhaps, but what of the insect struggling in the grass, whose little family you just squashed to death under foot? For you, perhaps, those sonorous chirps and shrill cries of birds are a delightful symphony, but for them they are the shrieks and cries of the battle for survival."
My rational and cynical mind was not wrong. The beauty of nature masks a reality that is nasty, brutish and short. My delight in its lovely goodness has more than a tad of the Marie Antoinette in it.
It was all very good for God to look upon His Creation and say, "It is good," but where is he for the dog in the sand, the neck in maw, the worm in the beak or us in our moment of suffering and death? Eli Eli lama sabachthani? Nature is grand objectified from the outside. It is quite a different tale when we ourselves are subjected to it from within. Perhaps the beauty of nature is simply a cosmic hypocricy.
Our choice, anytime and always, is to affirm or deny the beauty of creation. Jung says that there is no reason to do one or the other, but everything hangs on the choice we make.