The natural can bring a serene transcendence to those who allow it, being able to take in the beautiful, sublime, and picturesque can change the way an individual views the world. Author’s from the 18th and 19th century wrote about a specific transcendence they may have experienced while spending time in nature, giving them an almost divine feeling of understanding. Yet As humans we have the desire to take things out of the natural and bring them into our own environment rather than go into the natural. By removing it from its natural environment this experience can be stifled. As humans we conquer and develop destroying the natural around us, without truly knowing what is being lost. As humans our desires destroy the natural, therefore our ability to explore the natural through the beautiful, picturesque, and sublime is slowly being lost.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote about a transcending experience in his poem called “This Lime-tree Bower my Prison.” Coleridge writes about how although he is unable to go on a journey in nature with his companions, so he is stuck sitting beneath a lime tree, that at first he considers a prison. Yet beneath the lime-tree he is able to experience a certain transcendence that takes him from his prison and changes his outlook on nature entirely. Coleridge rights about his ability to see the beautiful, sublime and picturesque, with out actually physically seeing it. He explains that the ‘Almighty Spirit’ unveils himself through nature to him, and “that nature ne’er deserts the wise and pure.” Coleridge writes about the humble-bee and the small part it plays in a larger picture, and because of this experience he can see the larger picture as a whole and all of its smaller parts. Transcendence in a sense can give an individual the ability to see all the pieces of a puzzle and how they fit together.
In figure one the intricate web of a spider is sprawled across a section of shrubbery. I found this web while walking to class, and thought it to be unique because of its location. When we think about spider webs we generally associate them with the corners of an old house, not bathing in the sunlight on a warm day. Edmund Burke defines the sublime as “whatever is fitted in any sort to excite the ideas of pain and danger, that is to say, whatever is in any sort terrible, or is conversant about terrible objects, or operates in a manner analogous to terror,” (Burke, 111). The presentation of a spider web represents the sublime, and even further would be the sight of the spider hiding in its corners waiting for prey. Yet that is the life of a spider, hunting for its food and riding the planet of other small insects one at a time. Then there is the bush in which the spider has made its home, it to is a living specimen and it provide for the things around it. The idea of the circle of life can be easily recognized and acknowledged with in the natural, but it could be argued that human factors in some way make the circle unstable through our desires to remove nature from its intended environment.
Ralph Waldo Emerson is famous for his writings about the natural and in his poem
“Each and All” he writes about the environment in which nature is meant to remain. Emerson writes “I fetched my sea-born treasures home/but the poor unsightly, noisome things/had left their beauty on the shore.” Emerson understood the value nature possessed while still in nature but upon removing it from its natural
environment it loses value. Figure two shows flowers removed from nature losing their luster and vivacity. This presents an idea of the sublime in the loss of what was once beauty, plagued by human desire to obtain that beauty. “Like the bird from the woodlands to the cage,” Emerson relates the human environment to a cage for the natural, containing its beauty and picturesque as well as smothering it. Nature is meant to grow wild and free not be dominated and controlled
The growth of nature is suffocated by colonization, but it still has the ability to overcome and surpass what man kind puts in place. Figure three shows the fruitful overgrowth of trees located between two homes. In figure four the trees block the house behind them, shadowing the man made structure. It presents and image of nature still flowing with beauty simply ignoring the human elements around it. Then figure four shows sprouting of nature from a crack in the concrete. I found these images picturesque not for their roughness but for the meaning that can be found with in them.
Emerson once wrote “This universal soul, (nature) he calls reason: it is not mine, or thine, or his, but we are its; we are its property and men.” We treat and use nature as though we own it, entirely forgetting that we are truly its counterpart. We cannot fully experience it from our home; we must go out into solitude and view each single portion of nature to truly understand it. We must cast aside our desires to bring nature to us and instead go to it. Transcendence can bring to light the small details of nature that many humans fail to notice each and every day. The picturesque, beautiful, and sublime may be captured in a photo but their true presence in nature is better experienced rather than viewed.
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