In two or three posts of the past few days I’ve made a plea that environmental philosophy sometimes let Creation or Nature step forward, initiating what I called “immersive contact.” It was a plea for registering poetically the tang and feel of life among natural things, natural settings, natural creatures. These thoughts can be brought around to Thoreau again.
Here he is in a familiar mood:
There is nothing so poetic, as a walk in the woods and fields. I come to myself, I once more feel myself grandly related. It is as if I always met in those places some grand, serene, immortal, infinitely encouraging though invisible companion, and walked with him. There at last my nerves are steadied, my senses and my mind do their office. . . I love and celebrate nature.
I would not say all of environmental philosophy should be as poetic or fanciful as this; only that the draw of the fanciful, the pull of the sublime, the allure of Creation, should have a place at the table – perhaps not a privileged place, but a place of honor nonetheless.
My own sense is that my own sometimes technical and sometimes exploring philosophy – whether exploring Kierkegaard on the tang of life or Nietzsche on dancing Gods or Thoreau on dreaming frogs — would be impossible without letting a muse sing.
Homer gently begins, beseechingly, “Sing in me muse, of that man of many moves.” We might remember, as we write of environment, nature, or Creation, to ask, even in a whisper, for assistance:
“Sing in me muse, of this world of many textures, presences, alluring wonders, even holiness.
Sing in me muse of Creation.”