Finding the Right Words

For a long time, I have looked for a way to describe my connection to the natural world.  I tried in Evelio’s Garden, but no writer that I have encountered since has come as close as I have the privilege to quote here. Of  course there have been many before me, but none that I have discovered as right on as these two: Robinson Jeffers and Oliver Sacks. (And I’ll keep looking!)

The parts change and pass, or die, people and races and rocks and stars, none of them seems to me important in itself, but only the whole. This whole is in all its parts so beautiful and is felt by me to be so intensely in earnest, that I am compelled to love it, and to think of it as divine. It seems to me that this whole alone is worthy of the deeper sort of love; and that here is peace, freedom, I might say a kind of salvation.

— Robinson Jeffers

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The sense of deep time brings a deep peace with it, a detachment from the timescale, the urgencies of daily life. Seeing these volcanic islands and coral atolls, and wandering, above all, through this cycad forest on Rota, has given me an intimate feeling of the antiquity of the earth, and the slow, continuous processes by which different forms of life evolve and come into being. Standing here in the jungle, I feel part of a larger, calmer identity; I feel a profound sense of being at home, a sort of companionship with the earth.

 – Oliver Sacks