Met a fellow blogger yesterday, by the name of Yvan, and when looking through his blog, found some very beautiful pictures. I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t use his about page to tell his readers about himself. Would have liked to know which country he came from, for instance. But one picture of some beautiful trees in a park, reminded me of the picture posted above, and the European passion for sculpting trees. Those trees in Vienna weren’t sculpted. But even the way they were trimmed reminds me of the way humans try to impose their sense of order on nature.
Maybe because I’m a city boy, I’ve always been very sensitive to the differences between the country and town. I remember walking down a street in Europe… a long time ago. And all of a sudden it occurred to me, that everything I was seeing was man made. From the house to the street to the house again. The earth was completely covered and hidden. I was thinking, this is the direction that man takes, when he builds his home. He really wishes for his nest to be a total reflection of his own personality… and in doing so, he obliterates nature. I went to the park, and the park too, was a reflection of man… even in that patch of greenery. Of course, this was many years ago. And no doubt, because of all the talk about the environment, there have probably been some changes in the way public places are designed. But still… and even in Jerusalem, which has many more cracks in the pavement than they have in Europe… the malls are a very popular site for recreation. And the environment there is completely disconnected from nature.
Perhaps nature is frightening. We hear of tsunamis; of hurricanes like Katrina… of hot spots on the sun. Could it be that we don’t want to find ourselves face to face with the awesome power of nature. We prefer to regard nature with affection. A religious person may be called a ‘God fearing man’, but one who is in tune with the world around him is called a nature lover. Perhaps we would like to think that we have nature in our pocket. Recently, in the hysteria over global warming, we’ve been told that it was all our fault. Our cars, our airplanes, and our refrigerators… they have set the world off balance. And if we were just to live a little more modestly in the rich countries of the world, all would be fine again. How optimistic. But weren’t there ice ages in the past? Weren’t there radical changes in the weather of this planet long before the invention of gas propelled vehicles?
I am grateful for my home built of stone. I enjoy my heater, which works on a thermostat. And it’s very pleasant for me to have hot and cold running water in the faucet above my sink. I’m not quite sure, how much horse power I have under the hood of my car, but I enjoy getting in, and turning it on by ignition switch, and going to where I wish without exerting very much of my own energy. I am not embarrassed by all of this, nor do I feel guilty. On the contrary, it fills me with respect and admiration for human’s ability and invention. But I don’t get carried away by man’s mastery over nature. I try to remain aware of the true proportions. And I appreciate the fact that there are many reminders, here in Jerusalem, of nature.