Recently we were walking our five year old granddaughter home after a visit to our house, and she said something remarkable. (Our son’s family lives on a forested parcel adjacent to our own near Puget Sound.)
This precious little girl gazed to the top of the tall pine and fir lining the path and said, “I love the music the woods make.” She went on to describe various elements of nature’s orchestra, including the whistling wind in the treetops, the croaking of innumerable frogs drumming down by the pond, and, of course, the varied melodies of the birds who also call this glorious place “home.”
It was a wonderful moment.
When we pause to appreciate nature, it reminds us of the beneficent God who created it. Nature, especially when it is pristine and untouched by human hand, is truly wondrous. There are, I recognize, some “natural” settings that might actually be improved by human intervention . . . but these are few.
Unspoiled nature is beautiful. And that is a crucial distinction to make—because nature too has been corrupted by humanity’s fall from grace. Its capricious temperament is manifested in storms and other disasters.
So we, as Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve must be content to savor this blurred image of God’s original creation. For, even this corrupted world, is surely magnificent.
C.S. Lewis appreciated this truth. He and his close friends enjoyed many a long walk across the English countryside.
Nature is an awe-inspiring thing, but she is incapable of communicating ultimate joy. To find that, we must look beyond the forest to see who wrote the music it so eloquently sings.
In The Four Loves, Lewis emphasizes this truth:
Nature cannot satisfy the desires she arouses nor answer theological questions nor sanctify us. Our real journey to God involves constantly turning our backs on her; passing from the dawn-lit fields into some pokey little church, or (it might be) going to work in an East End parish. But the love of her has been a valuable and, for some people, indispensable initiation.
May our Creator grant us the opportunity to enjoy his unfathomable creation—even as we recognize that it is only by his boundless grace we are capable of doing so.