On Nature

Of all things, nature is the most beautiful. Serene and terrible, Nature is the blend of contradictions. She is a beloved companion, a bountiful provider; She can be a fearful foe, a tortuous master. But in whatever role She takes, Nature is beautiful and passionate.

Not so much unlike ourselves. Nature then is a mirror of who we, as a species, are. Are we compassionate neighbors? Rich benefactors? Or fearful overlords? The way we look at Nature, then, is a reflection of our values. What values prompt someone to approach Nature as a loving neighbor, full of compassion? What values prompts someone to approach Nature as a resource to be exploited?

Nature is humanity’s spouse, in a sense. Nature is our eternal companion given to us so that our pilgrimage would not be such a lonely one. If Nature is our spouse, how should we treat Her? With love and respect, cherishing every moment with her? Or do we abuse Her? Do we rape her?

If a spouse, then Nature has human goods that need to be nourished. Health is first and foremost. Do our policies promote the health of the environment? When we pollute the air and water, we poison the health of the environment. Would we poison our spouse? Would we poison ourselves. When our spouse is sick, would we not seek healing?

We see the beauty of our spouse. To us, our spouse is the most beautiful thing we see. So too, then Nature. She is stunningly beautiful. She is magnificent. We treasure that beauty. But when we disfigure Nature, we rob Her of that treasure.

Nature is strong and resilient. Her strength gives us strength. When our spouse thrives, do we not also? But strength is dependent on health. If Nature is sick, then she is weak, and the water we drink and the food we eat will make us sick; the air we breathe will choke us. For us to be strong, Nature must be strong. For Nature to be strong, Nature must be healthy.

Our spouse is rich and wealthy, and She shares her wealth abundantly. But do we covet her wealth? Who would steal from one’s spouse? But we do it everyday when we strip Nature of her wealth for our own material gain. “No blind god Plutus is, keen of sight, but only if he has Wisdom for a companion.” Plato wrote. But we are blinded by Plutus. We ignore our spouses beauty and granduer. We see only her riches, and we covet them. And in our greed, we lack wisdom.

We must act wisely with our Spouse. We must stand strong with her, and have the courage to protect her against those who would do her harm. Love requires nothing less. But love requires more, much more. To live in harmony with our spouse—to live justly, righteously, and peacefully—we must strive to understand, and to live in awe that someone would love us in return, despite all our faults and failings.

And this is the true beauty of Nature. That despite our abuse, our neglect, our destructive selfishness, she still provides for us. She still loves us. If we get to know Nature as our spouse, and if we act in a manner befitting a faithful spouse, then perhaps we will begin to make better decisions and offer better counsel regarding the way we treat Her.

We are lucky that we, as a species, have been given such a beautiful companion in Nature during our sojourn on earth. Let us then treat Nature as a beloved spouse. Let us vow to be true to Her in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. Let us love Her and honor Her all the days of our lives.

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