May 02, 2006

Is God in the woods?

"Most people are on the world, not in it; have no conscious sympathy or relationship to anything about them, undiffused, separate, and rigidly alone like marbles of polished stone, touching but separate."

John Muir (1838 – 1914) was a an environmentalist, naturalist, explorer, writer, inventor, and geologist. He is best remembered as a theorist and activist of the conservation movement. He was the greatest champion of the Yosemite area's natural wonders. He thought that nature was a primary source revealing the character of God and that the Sierra Nevada was sacred ground, even calling it the "Range of Light."

  • We all flow from one fountain— Soul. All are expressions of one love. God does not appear, and flow out, only from narrow chinks and round bored wells here and there in favored races and places, but He flows in grand undivided currents, shoreless and boundless over creeds and forms and all kinds of civilizations and peoples and beasts, saturating all and fountainizing all. (1872)

  • I used to envy the father of our race, dwelling as he did in contact with the new-made fields and plants of Eden; but I do so no more, because I have discovered that I also live in "creation's dawn." The morning stars still sing together, and the world, not yet half made, becomes more beautiful every day. (1873)

  • No dogma taught by the present civilization seems to form so insuperable an obstacle in a way of a right understanding of the relations which culture sustains as to wilderness, as that which declares that the world was made especially for the uses of men. Every animal, plant, and crystal controverts it in the plainest terms. Yet it is taught from century to century as something ever new and precious, and in the resulting darkness the enormous conceit is allowed to go unchallenged. (1875)

  • Fresh beauty opens one's eyes wherever it is really seen, but the very abundance and completeness of the common beauty that besets our steps prevents its being absorbed and appreciated. It is a good thing, therefore, to make short excursions now and then to the bottom of the sea among dulse and coral, or up among the clouds on mountain-tops, or in balloons, or even to creep like worms into dark holes and caverns underground, not only to learn something of what is going on in those out-of-the-way places, but to see better what the sun sees on our return to common every-day beauty. (1894)

  • Few are altogether deaf to the preaching of pine trees. Their sermons on the mountains go to our hearts; and if people in general could be got into the woods, even for once, to hear the trees speak for themselves, all difficulties in the way of forest preservation would vanish. (1896)

3 comments:

Steve S. said...

"Few are altogether deaf..."

It is amazing how a simple retreat from our hectic world of noises, information, motion and entertainment, into a place where the work of God is clearly displayed, can provide so much peace of mind...

DeMar said...

I don’t have the words my friend. It is that, a simple retreat, and so much more. Solitude in God’s big green isn’t so much about being alone, but rather experience in the character of Him that we, as men, did not construct. Even in those times prior to which I’ve been made to be now, I would find time and seek that involvement. I didn’t want it to be God. I ran from that. I would have, at that place I was at, rather have it be something I could bottle. And in those times I felt pain, in its so many forms, I would use it until it was all gone. But now, the time I wasted in making those moments with the Father something they were not, is gone. To what end? Certainly not to ponder those losses, but rather to know in my heart what they may truly be. The memories, as I choose to remember them, will change and fade with time. And barring the curtain being drawn on this age, I will have opportunity to pursue my Father in a new manner of solitude from that of my past. I do pray that this opportunity is availed to those that come after me, and that His children would be compelled to visit Him in those places He made for such a purpose. Not simply to see, but to breath Him in, simply because He is worthy.

Steve S. said...

I think this is the very reason why I love getting up before the sun...

...something about the stars in the sky, and the empty streets, gives me the impression that God is listening...