As human beings we take everything for granted. We think not of the struggle that nature endures to blossom into something that we can find divine. Nor do we think about the hours and passion that a writer may have put into that piece of literature we pick up and read. We are expectant creatures who complain when it’s too hot outside, not even thinking that, that warmth is keeping us alive, or we get mad when it rains too much, not appreciating it for keeping nature flourishing. Ralph Waldo Emerson talks of humans’ disdain for nature and how detached we have become in his piece “Nature.” We’ll take a look at Emerson’s opinion on the lack of compassion and awe that mankind has for the world around them.
Nature was not uncommon to be a theme that Emerson leaned on ever so frequently. This was not because he was a “man’s, man” living in the woods, off of the land or anything; but because he believed that by being in touch with nature, you were also closer to God. In the beginning of “Nature,” Emerson writes “I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me (Emerson).” Now, upon first read anyone would assume that he is not alone because he has the characters in his reading/writing to accompany him. However, being that Emerson so passionately believed in the continual presence of God, I believe this is to whom he is referring. As a Transcendentalist, Emerson believed “God was not remote and unknowable; believers understood God and themselves by looking into their own souls and by feeling their own connection to nature ("Ralph Waldo Emerson biography").”
This sets the mood for the reader throughout the rest of the work for the appreciation that Emerson has for the world around him. He talks of stars as a something that we have high respect for, because even though they are always present, as is the rest of nature, they are unattainable to us. As human beings, this keeps us fascinated with them because we cannot fully comprehend what we cannot physically acquire. He talks of how once we have uncovered all of the secrets of something, then it has no allure to us anymore and that is when we begin to take things for granted.
Emerson makes it very clear that it is absurd that we are ungrateful for the flora around us when it is never unkind or unforgiving. Whereas the busy industrialized world will eat you alive, the calm invitation of nature will accept you gladly in its presence every time. He writes about how it is rare for adults to be in awe of nature, and that we need to preserve a sense of childhood within us. The reason being, that children are more prone to the discovery of their surroundings. They have not yet become accustomed to trees blowing in the wind, or water gathering on the ground. They are not annoyed by the sounds of birds, and hold no disgust yet for crawling creatures. They are just simply in wonderstruck by it all, as if it is something too good to be true; this is the virtue that Emerson wants us all to hold...