I saw this question on another blog, ” Where do you feel closest to God?” He went on to mention two places most would answer, “in church,” and “in nature”. This blog owner is also a pastor, professional nature photographer and author.
History has shown that nature has been a place where religion was practiced quite long ago by wandering people, those moving from place to place, hunting and gathering – up through times where people started making communities. Rudimentary religion, but a belief in a protector and a giver of life.
Does this protective canopy above not look like a place to sit within and contemplate? The brightly lit trees in fall even gesture towards the look of stained glass used today. And if you look at the image of the cathedral above, see the “trees and branches” forming the canopy overhead – making one look to the heavens?
Long before built churches, nature did serve as a place of worship. Nature was used to help understand and make sense of that which was greater – the unexplainable mystery. To see how this relationship was influenced in architecture see W4W Tracery in the Landscape. It was no accident that nature made its way into built structures of faith.
Nature is both complex and at the same time, simple.
Complex processes and understanding, but simple in the fact that it is undeniably needed.
Nature has many faces. It has the native and the one of the introduced. It has many ways to make one feel small. Many ways to make one feel reverential respect. Many ways to make one feel guilty too.
When one thinks about it, much of the same feelings happen between both organized religion and reverence for nature. Any wonder why religion developed in open air environments? Why people came together and believed in something greater?
The tiny and the expansive intrigued many through the ages, so much that man has explored both. Now a days, we have methods to see the smallest and the farthest, the seemingly unreachable. It makes one wonder if we will ever see what we only can feel and believe in faith. Are there things we are not meant to see?
Just one look into the sky and there is a feeling of a presence greater than all that makes up this planet, all the things man does to control it or makes to take it away. The presence we may never meet or directly experience.
Most of us think smaller scale because it is both personal and manageable. But personal and manageable affects everyone’s personal and manageable.
A garden though small in scale, can be a sacred space of nature, a place of spiritual experience. We can fence it in, or open it to the world.
I look at all of nature as this garden and often use that tag line in my banner, The Greater Garden of Nature. It makes one wonder how all the creatures see the environments we create. When they enter, is it just what we offer that they desire, or is it more? Do we enter their environments for more?
When you share space with nature and it joins your party, it is like being rewarded in some way. Being grateful for this reward seems so appropriate. The reward is not always so obvious either; peace of mind, the peacefulness of place, the health benefits, the quiet – all things we might overlook or take for granted.
To me it is unfathomable that not everyone feels this way, because if they did, they would care for and protect rather than what we are saddened by all too often. Just a thought.
Sunday, what’s the latest news on butterflies? Are Monarchs rebounding or spiraling in decline?