The Quote Garden ™
I dig old books. ™
Quotations about Nature
Us nature mystics got to stick together. ~Edward Abbey, Vox Clamantis in Deserto, 1989
Never does Nature say one thing and Wisdom another. ~Juvenal, translated by G. G. Ramsay, 1918
O, money can't buy the delights of the glen,
Nor Poetry sing all its charms:
There's a solace and calm ne'er described by the pen
When we're folded within Nature's arms!
~James Rigg, "Nutting Time," Wild Flower Lyrics and Other Poems, 1897
Multitudes of people are beauty-blind to the outdoor pictures. I doubt if one in a hundred begins to take in the beauty visible on even a short walk in city or country. ~Delia Lyman Porter, "The Beauty-Blind," An Anti-Worry Recipe and Other Stories, 1905
Sometimes Mother Nature has the answers when you do not even know the questions. ~Keith Wynn, @untamed__dreamer, Instagram post, 2017
Deny yourself the connection to the wild places that your soul craves and the fire inside you will slowly turn to ash. ~Creek Stewart, 2017
How strange that Nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude! ~Emily Dickinson, letter to Mrs. J.S. Cooper, 1880
I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ~John Muir (1838–1914)
What humbugs we are, who pretend to live for Beauty, and never see the Dawn! ~Logan Pearsall Smith
Study nature, and you will find out where all the truth comes from. ~Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw, 1818–1885) [spelling standardized —tg]
How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! ~John Muir, The Mountains of California
[I]mport into Education the wisdom of life. Leave this military hurry and adopt the pace of Nature. Her secret is patience. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Education"
Nature's law is stronger than any little law you have made for yourself. ~Frank A. De Puy, "Happiness in the Home: Be Patient," The New Century Home Book, 1900
Cultivate the acquaintance of Mother Nature. She may enrich you. ~Minna Thomas Antrim (1861–1950), Don'ts for Girls, 1902
I used to believe that one needed to travel to the ends of the earth, in remote areas, to find what’s truly wild. Through my experiences, however, I have found ‘wild’ isn’t just about being in a remote wilderness or with an elusive wild animal. Wild can be found in our very own state, city, or even backyard. In a world wrought with standards, rules, and labels, Wild, stands out as the world unedited. ~Brokk W. Mowrey, wildlife and nature photographer, www.brokkmowrey.com, 2020
I am odorous of the pine forest,
The scent of pine-cones is in my hair.
I smell of wild mint, and the tamarack swamps.
The juice of alder-berries is on my lips, and the brown stain of hazel on my fingers.
I am flecked with the dust of moth-wings, and powdered with the pollen from the hearts of calla-lilies.
I am wind-tawned and sun-browned.
Wearing the marks of the open.
I reek of freedom.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "At the Roots of Grasses: XVIII," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature's sources never fail. ~John Muir, Our National Parks
I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. ~Henry David Thoreau, "Walking"
...And this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
Our chearful faith that all which we behold
Is full of blessings...
~William Wordsworth, lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey, on revisiting the banks of the Wye during a tour, 1798 July 13th
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~Khalil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923
Give me a field where the unmowed grass grows... ~Walt Whitman
Everything in Nature suggests the infinite. ~Henry James Slack (1818–1896), The Ministry of the Beautiful, "Conversation VII: Druidical Remains," 1850 [Edith speaking —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
The wilderness is lavish in all that it does. It creates life in a million forms and it causes death in as many. It will beam upon its world the kindness of the seraph and snarl and tear with the savagery of the most blood-thirsty killer. ~R. D. Lawrence, The Place in the Forest, 1967
I may never traverse the halls of art, yet the dawning day is mine, and the fading twilight, and the lake at eve, and the galaxy of the midnight sky.... I may never place in a Dresden vase one single hothouse flower, but I may lave me in a field of yellow buttercups. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes...
~E.E. Cummings (1894–1962)
There's sunshine in the heart of me,
My blood sings in the breeze;
The mountains are a part of me,
I'm fellow to the trees.
~Robert W. Service (1874–1958), "A Rolling Stone," 1912
The trail is poetry; a wagon road is prose; the railroad, arithmetic. My blood always leaps under a spur of dimly remembered joys as I turn from the dusty, rectilinear turnpike into the trail. We are done with the foul dust, the noise, the crowds of the highway, when we "hit the trail." We enter into nature's heart. The trail is the sign of things vanishing; the evidence of nature untouched and unsubdued. It stands for a world of free men and wild animals... The trail has taught me much...
I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant breaths of pine and fir and cedar and poplar trees. The trail has strung upon it, as upon a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets. It has given me blessed release from care and worry and the troubled thinking of modern day. It has been a return to the primitive and the peaceful. Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and benumbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me — I am happy. ~Hamlin Garland, "Hitting the Trail," in McClure's Magazine, 1899
In wildness I sense the miracle of life, and beside it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia. ~Charles A. Lindbergh, "The Wisdom of Wildness," in LIFE, 1967
There is a kinship of this flesh
And that warm earth, I know,
It sings in winds, it laughs in trees,—
All things that dance and blow
Proclaim this truth, shout it on high,
Earth is a sister thing
To all of life, and solemn with
Its deep remembering
Of little feet that it upholds,
Rejoicing in new birth:
Of still, still clay, it hides at last
The silent tender earth!
~George Elliston, "Kinship," Bright World, 1927
The moon silvered on one side the leaves, which the shadows bronzed on the other. They called to mind, as they swayed to and fro, the rustling which a bird makes in its flight. Everything murmured and whispered.... Warm vapors rose from the earth, and blent with the coolness of the night. I inhaled a sort of intoxication. Nature sometimes affects the soul just as wine does the body. ~Gustave Haller (Valérie Wilhelmine Joséphine Simonin Fould, 1836–1919), Chapter XI, Renée and Franz / Le Bleuet, 1875, translated from French, 1878
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more...
~Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, 1812
You can't be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion of challenge the ideology of a violet. ~Hal Borland, "Spring Is for Laughter," 1954
The wilderness has the power to exert enormous influence on the mind of a man freshly arrived from civilization, especially if he lives alone and has but little contact with other people; some that I have known could not take the solitude, the absence of comfort and reassurance offered by the presence of other humans. Such men have become effete in terms of personal survival in the face of natural challenges, the city is too much with them, and they don't last. There are also those who go too far the other way, becoming misanthropes... these are the withdrawers, and they are found sprinkled loosely wherever there is a forest or a jungle, like seeds that have lost the ability to germinate in cultivated soil.
But between the quitters and the lone stayers, there is a third kind — indeed, there may be more than that, for all I know — in whom the wilderness acts as a catalyst and who, after they have experienced both the wild and the civilized, begin to form new values, to explore unknown pathways, and to realize that nature is an endlessly patient teacher with an infinite capacity to stimulate thought and to sharpen the hunger for knowledge. That is how the wilderness affected me... ~R. D. Lawrence (1921–2003), The North Runner, 1979
Concrete is heavy; iron is hard — but the grass will prevail. ~Edward Abbey, Vox Clamantis in Deserto, 1989
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. This natural beauty-hunger is made manifest in the little window-sill gardens of the poor, though perhaps only a geranium slip in a broken cup, as well as in the carefully tended rose and lily gardens of the rich, the thousands of spacious city parks and botanical gardens, and in our magnificent National parks — the Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, etc. — Nature's sublime wonderlands, the admiration and joy of the world. ~John Muir, The Yosemite
Some – keep the Sabbath – going to church –
I – keep it – staying at Home –
With a Bobolink – for a Chorister –
And an Orchard – for a Dome...
~Emily Dickinson, 1861
One of the strongest elements of beauty in Nature is her colors. ~F. Schuyler Mathews, "Comparative Colors and their Relation to Flowers," 1894
God made sunsets over seas, crimson poppies and glaring streaks of red in the morning sky, violet and oxeye; pressed into creation, out of drab soil, the iris and the tiger-lily, pink magnolias out of bare stems, and fiery poinsettias out of the colorless earth and air; screamed out of His being the utterance of an autumn forest. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Prayers of a Worldling" (VI & VII), A Soul's Faring, 1921 [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
Mother Nature presents neither a wrinkled face nor tottering form, but constantly renews the bloom of her youth, while time fills up the volumes of her history. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882
Good heavens, of what uncostly material is our earthly happiness composed — if we only knew it! What incomes have we not had from a flower, and how unfailing are the dividends of the seasons! ~James Russell Lowell, letter to Thomas Hughes, 1890
So on their way they went rejoicing—saying pretty things to the fairies, the flowers and the birds, for they are their best friends you know, and they love all Nature with a vast and all-embracing, all-enduring love. ~S.J. Adair Fitz-Gerald (1859–1925), The Zankiwank & The Bletherwitch, 1896
Great things are done when men and mountains meet;
These are not done by jostling in the street.
The indescribable innocence and beneficence of Nature, — of sun and wind and rain, of summer and winter, — such health, such cheer, they afford forever!... Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself? ~Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin... ~William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, c.1601 [III, 3, Ulysses]
I believe in God, only I spell it Nature. ~Frank Lloyd Wright
One of the pleasantest things in the world is going on a journey; but I like to go by myself. I can enjoy society in a room; but out of doors, nature is company enough for me. I am then never less alone than when alone... When I am in the country, I wish to vegetate like the country... The soul of a journey is liberty; perfect liberty, to think, feel, do just as one pleases... I want a little breathing-space... Give me the clear blue sky over my head, and the green turf beneath my feet, a winding road before me, and a three hours' march to dinner — and then to thinking!... I laugh, I run, I leap, I sing for joy... Instead of an awkward silence, broken by attempts at wit or dull common-places, mine is that undisturbed silence of the heart which alone is perfect eloquence... Is not this wild rose sweet without a comment? Does not this daisy leap to my heart, set in its coat of emerald? ~William Hazlitt (1778–1830), "On Going a Journey"
You must not know too much, or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and water-craft; a certain free margin, and even vagueness—perhaps ignorance, credulity—helps your enjoyment of these things, and of the sentiment of feather'd, wooded, river, or marine Nature generally. ~Walt Whitman, "Birds—And a Caution," Specimen Days
I should not like to loose
The touch of earth in me...
I shall not polish down
To nothingness the thrill
Of primitive, that stirs,
It shall its own fulfill
Rain on the hill shall find
An echo and the dawn
An ecstasy, until
Life from my house is gone.
~George Elliston, "Treasure," Through Many Windows, 1924
There are no sounds that can stir the sublime emotions of men's souls like the sighs and whispers of nature. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882
Nature is new every morning. ~Proverb
Nature is new every morning, but its cycles are ancient, independent of all our anxieties, oblivious to our plans. ~Barbara Cawthorne Crafton, "Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer," 2003 September 25th
I shall soon be rested... to sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment. ~Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814
The reflection of the rays of the sun from living green, during a great part of the year, is highly salutary to the eyes, and through the medium of the eyes, to the rest of the system. ~William Andrus Alcott (1798–1859), The Young Woman's Book of Health, 1850
Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we not the penalty of Adam,
The seasons' difference; as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind,
Which when it bites and blows upon my body,
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say
'This is no flattery; these are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.'
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
I would not change it.
~William Shakespeare, As You Like It, c.1599 [II, 1, Duke]
Nature teaches more than she preaches. There are no sermons in stones. It is easier to get a spark out of a stone than a moral. Even when it contains a fossil, it teaches history rather than morals. ~John Burroughs, "The Gospel of Nature," Time and Change, 1912
Can you live out o' doors winter and summer; can you tramp all day and sleep o' nights under the stars? Are you friends with the snow and the thunder? ~Elizabeth Godfrey (Jessie Bedford), The Winding Road, 1902
Our downfall as a species is that we are arrogant enough to think that we can control Mother Nature and stupid enough to think it is our job. ~Greg Peterson, 1997, urbanfarm.org
A rhododendron bud lavender-tipped. Soon a glory of blooms to clash with the cardinals and gladden the hummingbirds! ~David J. Beard (1947–2016), tweet, 2009 May 10th
I'm grateful for everything that's green. ~Audrey Hepburn (1929–1993)
...Let me not exult,
But rather thankful be that the great book
Of Nature, with its rich embellishments,
Lies e'en within my reach...
~Fanny Fielding, "Dreaming," 1800s [pseudonym of a "talented and educated lady" from Virginia —tg]
I had an early run in the woods before the dew was off the grass. The moss was like velvet, and as I ran under the arches of yellow and red leaves I sang for joy, my heart was so bright and the world so beautiful. ~Louisa May Alcott, 1845
Happiness flutters in the air whilst we rest among the breaths of nature. ~Kelly Sheaffer
He therefore slipped off everywhere, to the right and to the left; he climbed over into every vale that hid itself behind a hill; he visited the pierced shadow-projection of every row of trees; he laid himself down at the feet of a more than commonly beautiful flower, and refreshed himself with pure love by its spirit, without breaking its body; he was the travelling-companion of the powdered butterfly, and observed his burying himself in his flower, and the hedge-sparrow he followed through the bushes to her brooding-cell and nursery; he let himself be spell-bound in the circle which a bee drew around him, and quietly suffered himself to be immured in the shaft of his own nosegay; he exercised upon every village which the motley landscape held up to him the right of way, and loved best to meet the children, whose days played even like his hours— But men he avoided.... ~Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, Hesperus, or Forty-Five Dog-Post-Days: A Biography, translated from German by Charles T. Brooks, 1865
My gracious Lord, we give you thanks for the beauty of the earth and sky and sea, for the songs of birds and the loveliness of flowers, for the wonders of your animal kingdom... in the light of the eye of a camel is reflected the glory of God, in the work of a ladybug is the soul of an artist. ~Ethel Pochocki (1925–2010), The Blessing of the Beasts, 2007 [Friar —tg]
...flesh and blood of me are kinned
with grass and bush and tree and wind...
~Hal Borland, dedication to Barbara, Hal Borland's Book of Days, 1976
All I want is to stand in a field
and to smell green,
to taste air,
to feel the earth want me,
Without all this concrete
~Phillip Pulfrey, from Love, Abstraction and other Speculations, www.originals.net
Few people read from the library of Nature. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897
I know the thrill of the grasses when the rain pours over them.
I know the trembling of the leaves when the winds sweep through them.
I know what the white clover felt as it held a drop of dew pressed close in its beauteousness.
I know the quivering of the fragrant petals at the touch of the pollen-legged bees.
I know what the stream said to the dipping willows, and what the moon said to the sweet lavender.
I know what the stars said when they came stealthily down and crept fondly into the tops of the trees.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Creation Songs: V," A Soul's Faring, 1921
With innovation and technology, seems we have forgotten to cherish the true beauty the world has to offer. ~A.C. Van Cherub, 2008
Over our manhood bend the skies;
Against our fallen and traitor lives
The great winds utter prophecies;
With our faint hearts the mountain strives,
Its arms outstretched, the druid wood
Waits with its benedicite
And to our age's drowsy blood
Still shouts the inspiring sea.
~James Russell Lowell, The Vision of Sir Launfal, 1848
Seek the wilderness, for there is peace. ~Tom Brown, Jr.
Keep me true to the trees, faithful to the grasses,
Let me not traduce the birds, betray the faith of the roses, nor hurt the heart of the daffodils...
Keep me fit for stars and twilights, answering to the blue night-shadows.
Set me free to be caressed of the sunshine and embraced of the breeze.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "At the Roots of Grasses: VIII," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923
Nature holds all the answers — go outside and ask some questions — open your heart and listen to the response! ~Amethyst Wyldfyre, AnswersFromYourAngels.com
Quiet meditation is all that is balm
Back into nature is where we find calm...
~Helen F. Troy, "Tired Soul," 1895 January 19th [Context note: By "back into nature" she is actually referring to death. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
Let us a little permit Nature to take her own way; she better understands her own Affairs than we. ~Michel de Montaigne, "Of Experience," translated from French by Charles Cotton
Nature has with a Motherly Tenderness observed this, that the Action she has enjoyned us for our Necessity should be also pleasant to us, and invites us to them, not only by Reason, but also by Appetite: and 'tis Injustice to infringe her Laws. ~Michel de Montaigne, "Of Experience," translated from French by Charles Cotton
Of all Fair Scenes the World holds none more good
Than laughing Stream and greenly waving Wood...
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Outdoors," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924
Three Neighbors ever good
Are Mountain, Stream, and Wood.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Old Irish Proverbs," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924
A lawn is nature under totalitarian rule. ~Michael Pollan, Second Nature, 1991
I can still smell the green of the grass crushed beneath me. Feel the damp of the dew on my elbows. Hear the birdsong. ~Kristina Turner, The Self-Healing Cookbook, 2002, originally published 1987
Say, care-worn man,
Whom Duty chains within the city walls,
Amid the toiling crowd, how grateful plays
The fresh wind o'er thy sickly brow, when free
To tread the springy turf,— to hear the trees
Communing with the gales,—to catch the voice
Of waters, gushing from their rocky womb,
And singing as they wander...
Spring-hours will come again, and feelings rise
With dewy freshness o'er thy wither'd heart.
~Robert Montgomery, "Beautiful Influences," A Universal Prayer; Death; A Vision of Heaven; and A Vision of Hell; &c. &c., 1829
The great pulsation of nature beats too in my breast, and when I carol aloud, I am answered by a thousand-fold echo. I hear a thousand nightingales. Spring hath sent them to awaken Earth from her morning slumber, and Earth trembles with ecstasy, her flowers are hymns, which she sings in inspiration to the sun... ~Heinrich Heine, "Ideas: Book Le Grand," 1826, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland, Pictures of Travel, 1855
Life is beautiful, only we haven't known how to keep it radiant and rosy-cheeked and lovely. We have allowed it to become sickly, with green and ashen hue.
We do not know how to accept life.... Clumsy of soul, we do not know how to open our hearts like the flowers that receive the dew, nor lean like the leaves when the breeze would kiss them. There are dawns to which we never open, and singing winds to which our breasts are dumb.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: VI," A Soul's Faring, 1921
God's handiwork is all about me,
As I sit on the porch and gaze
At the far-off peaks of the mountains
That are touched with the sun's bright rays.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "In the Mountains" (1940s)
But when he had thus for some hours wandered on, with drinking eye and absorbing heart, through pearl-strings of bedewed web-work, through humming vales, over singing hills, and when the violet-blue sky peacefully joined itself to the smoking heights and to the dark woods, rising like garden-walls behind each other,—when Nature opened all the pipes of the stream of life, and when all her fountains leaped up, and, flashing, played into each other, painted over by the sun,—then was Victor, who went through these flying streams with a rising and thirsty heart, lifted and softened by them; then did his heart swim, trembling like the sun's image in the infinite ocean....
Then did flower, meadow, and grove dissolve into a dim immensity, and the color-grains of Nature melted away into a single broad flood, and over the glimmering flood stood the Infinite One as a sun, and in it, as a reflected sun, the human heart.—
All was one; all hearts grew to one greatest heart; a single life throbbed; the blooming pictures, the growing statues, the dusty clod of earth, and the infinite blue vault became the beholding face of an immeasurable soul.
~Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, Hesperus, or Forty-Five Dog-Post-Days: A Biography, translated from German by Charles T. Brooks, 1865
The dance of the palm trees, the oceans calling, the first rays of sun and heaven is here. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife, tweet, 2011
Infinitely will I trust nature's instincts and promptings, but I will not call my own perversions nature. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Wind-Wafted Wild Flowers," in The Open Court, August 1903
A setting sun still whispers a promise for tomorrow. ~Jeb Dickerson, @JebDickerson
What a type of happy family is the family of the sun! with what order, with what harmony, with what blessed peace, do his children the planets move around him, shining with light which they drink in from their parent's in at once upon him and on one another! ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.
When a traveler asked Wordsworth's servant to show him her master's study, she answered, "Here is his library, but his study is out of doors." ~Henry David Thoreau, "Walking"
I will not die of four walls while there is breath in the hills. My misery is born under a roof, but it shall perish in the fields. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: XL," A Soul's Faring, 1921
...The woods, the lawns, the heaths supply
Lessons from Nature to the heart....
~Charlotte Turner Smith (1749-1806), "The Horologe of the Fields"
Listen to nature — to the music of the rustling leaves, the chirping birds, the humming, droning insects. Let them play for you their summer-long symphony of peace and strength and hope. ~H. Addington Bruce, Nerve Control and How to Gain It, 1918
The attraction of variety, contrast, is always invigorating. Nature does not for long allow a sameness of beauty to prevail. ~Virginia Garland, "The Rain," Out West: A Magazine of the Old Pacific and the New, February 1908
The wilderness is honest. Trustworthy. Whereas all other people do is hurt you. ~Alena Smith, "Alone, I cannot be," Dickinson, 2019 [S1, E4, Emily —tg]
The natural alone is permanent. Fantastic idols may be worshipped for a while; but at length they are overturned by the continual and silent progress of Truth, as the grim statues of Copan have been pushed from their pedestals by the growth of forest-trees, whose seeds were sown by the wind in the ruined walls. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Kavanagh: A Tale, 1849
Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise. ~George Washington Carver
It is one of those fringy, winding places
Where close the clover-velvet interlaces,
And the dwarf oak and little evergreen,
Lovers, in one another's arms are seen;
While larkspur, painted-brush and poppy flame—
All flowers the low winds, coming, call by name—
Make mimic sunsets under foot, with hues
Of purple and of scarlet, greens and blues,
Blended so deftly evening may despair
To paint a hilltop or a sky so fair...
~John Vance Cheney, "The Redwoods Fairy," 1893–1911
I'd like to see a nature film where an eagle swoops down and pulls a fish out of a lake, and then maybe he's flying along, low to the ground, and the fish pulls a worm out of the ground. Now that's a documentary! ~Jack Handey, Deepest Thoughts: So Deep They Squeak, 1994, deepthoughtsbyjackhandey.com
There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough to pay attention to the story. ~Linda Hogan
In nature answers are given quietly, in the details, just waiting for discovery. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife, tweet, 2015
A very strange and solemn feeling came over me as I stood there, with no sound but the rustle of the pines, no one near me, and the sun so glorious, as for me alone. It seemed as if I felt God as I never did before, and I prayed in my heart that I might keep that happy sense of nearness all my life. ~Louisa May Alcott, 1845
The Spirit speaks,—or beauty from the sky
Descends into my being,—when I hear
The storm-hymns of the mighty ocean roll,
Or thunder sound,—the champion of the storm!—
Then I feel envy for immortal words,
The rush of living thought; oh! then I long
To dash my feelings into deathless verse,
That may administer to unborn time,
And tell some lofty soul how I have lived
A worshipper of Nature and of Thee!
~Robert Montgomery, "Death," A Universal Prayer; Death; A Vision of Heaven; and A Vision of Hell; &c. &c., 1829
The mountain teaches stability and grandeur; the ocean immensity and change. Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes, — every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man. Even the bee and the ant have brought their little lessons of industry and economy. ~Orison Swett Marden
I will find my joy —
Not in a bed of hothouse roses,
but in a wayward roadside flower.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904
I come from the workshop of creation with inside secrets...
I know why they opened the day with coral and closed it with crimson, and set a blue canopy between.
I know confidential things — I watched and I listened...
I saw vats where bird-songs were brewed.
I saw the seasons come out of the molding room. I know the admixture. I know what they contain.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "At the Roots of Grasses: II," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923
Nature rejuvenates so quickly, so completely. Though we often view ourselves otherwise, we are nature. ~Jeb Dickerson, @JebDickerson
I am a dreamer. Nature, lead my glad heart
In grateful praise for the beauteous things,
Of loving all the lovely things of earth,—
Each dew-gemmed flower that scents the air,
Each bird that carols gaily in the morning,
Each star that gems the azure vault of heaven,
Each rustling leaf that whispers me to sleep,
He has made me a friend, and sweet converse
We ofttimes hold together. Beauteous world!
Who would not be a dreamer?
~Fanny Fielding, "Dreaming," 1800s [Text altered. Pseudonym of a "talented and educated lady" from Virginia. —tg]
There is not a plant or herb in existence, but has almost a miracle hidden away in its tiny cup or spreading leaves... ~Marie Corelli (Mary Mills Mackay)
Nature is sanative, refining, elevating. How cunningly she hides every wrinkle of her inconceivable antiquity under roses, and violets, and morning dew! Every inch of the mountains is scarred by unimaginable convulsions, yet the new day is purple with the bloom of youth and love. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Progress of Culture"
By the faith that the flowers show when they bloom unbidden,
By the calm of the river's flow to a goal that is hidden,
By the trust of the tree that clings to its deep foundation,
By the courage of wild birds' wings on the long migration,
(Wonderful secret of peace that abides in Nature's breast!)
Teach me how to confide, and live my life, and rest.
For the comforting warmth of the sun that my body embraces,
For the cool of the waters that run through the shadowy places,
For the balm of the breezes that brush my face with their fingers,
For the vesper-hymn of the thrush when the twilight lingers,
For the long breath, the deep breath, the breath of a heart without care,—
I will give thanks and adore thee, God of the open air!
~Henry Van Dyke, "God of the Open Air," Music and Other Poems, 1904
Strange sights and wonderful experiences, wisdom in the lore that Nature only teaches to those who live with her, nearness to the heart of the great Mother Earth... ~Elizabeth Godfrey (Jessie Bedford), The Winding Road, 1902
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
~William Butler Yeats, "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," The Rose, 1893
...the world is mud-
~E.E. Cummings (1894–1962), "Chansons Innocentes: I," Tulips and Chimneys, 1923
The blue of heaven is duplicated in my own soul.
The songs of the birds are in the high branches of my being.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of Him: V," A Soul's Faring, 1921
[T]hro' this Air, this Ocean, and this Earth,
All Nature quick, and bursting into birth.
Above, how high progressive life may go?
Around how wide? how deep extend below?
Vast Chain of Being! which from God began,
Ethereal Essence, Spirit, Substance, Man,
Beast, Bird, Fish, Insect! what no Eye can see,
No Glass can reach! from Infinite to Thee!
From Thee to Nothing....
From Nature's Chain whatever Link you strike,
Tenth, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike....
All are but parts of one stupendous Whole:
Whose Body Nature is, and God the Soul.
~Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man
To a brain wearied by the din of the city, the clatter of wheels, the jingle of street cars, the discord of bells, the cries of venders, the ear-splitting whistles of factory and shop, how refreshing is the heavenly stillness of the country! To the soul tortured by the sight of ills it cannot cure, wrongs it cannot right, and sufferings it cannot relieve, how blessed to be alone with nature, with trees living free, unfettered lives, and flowers content each in its native spot, with brooks singing of joy and good cheer, with mountains preaching divine peace and rest! ~Olive Thorne Miller, "Tramps with an Enthusiast," The Atlantic Monthly, May 1895 #hsp
and the stones
and the birds
and the animals
are my family too —
~James McGrath (b.1928)
It is surprising, in the midst of our Museums and Scientific Schools, how little we yet know of the common things around us.... It is no wonder that there is so little substantial enjoyment of Nature in the community, when we feed children on grammars and dictionaries only, and take no pains to train them to see that which is before their eyes. The mass of the community have "summered and wintered" the universe pretty regularly, one would think for a good many years; and yet nine persons out of ten in the town or city, and two out of three even in the country, seriously suppose, for instance, that the buds upon trees are formed in the spring; they have had them within sight all winter, and never seen them. ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "April Days," first published 1861, quoted from the 1897 edition
[T]he open air is the only place for real fun. ~Woods Hutchinson, M.D., "The Importance of Play," Building Strong Bodies, 1924
How good it is to handle the things of this world: the dry leaves, the pollen of things (dust is the daughter of things). My daily life is very adorned. ~Clarice Lispector (1920–1977), A Breath of Life: Pulsations, written 1974–1977, published posthumously 1978, edited by Olga Borelli and Benjamin Moser, translated from the Portuguese by Johnny Lorenz, 2012 [Angela —tg]
I wish you the beauty of silence, the glory of sunlight, the mystery of darkness, the force of flame, the power of water, the sweetness of air, the quiet strength of earth, the love that lies at the very root of things. I wish you the wonder of living. ~Pam Brown, To a Very Special Daughter, 1991, helenexley.com
I ride on the mountain tops, I ride;
I have found my life and am satisfied...
Lightly I sweep
From steep to steep:
Over my head through the branches high
Come glimpses of a rushing sky...
A bee booms out of the scented grass;
A jay laughs with me as I pass.
I ride on the hills, I forgive, I forget
Life's hoard of regret—
All the terror and pain
Of the chafing chain.
Grind on, O cities, grind:
I leave you a blur behind...
Let them weary and work in their narrow walls:
I ride with the voices of waterfalls!
I swing on as one in a dream—I swing
Down the airy hollows, I shout, I sing!
The world is gone like an empty word:
My body's a bough in the wind, my heart a bird!
~Edwin Markham, "The Joy of the Hills"
Nature is not benevolent: with ruthless indifference she makes all things serve their purposes... ~Laozi, as quoted in The Wisdom of the East: The Sayings of Lao Tzŭ, translated from the Chinese by Lionel Giles, 1904
Soft singing of the rain
Is more than I can bear—
Today when I am followed
By beauty everywhere...
Oh there are many times
I cry out in the night,
For beauty to come throbbing
With all her power and might
But not today, today I long
For just one star, one flower
Too generous the gods
My soul is slain with power.
~George Elliston, "Surfeit," Through Many Windows, 1924
The unicorn could hear the sounds of the Earth growing: grass and leaves and timothy in the fields. She could distinguish between oak and ash on the rise, though the sound of rowan growing made her tremble all over. ~Jane Yolen, "The Lady's Garden," Here There Be Unicorns, 1994 [a little altered —tg]
God is an artist of Nature;
He paints in colors, so rare,
The bursting bud in the Springtime,
The lovely trees everywhere:
Autumn leaves so very gorgeous,
In colors of every hue,
The fleecy clouds, so pure and white,
That sail in the skies of blue.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "God is an Artist of Nature" (1940s)
And in the development of these [mountains] Nature chose for a tool, not the earthquake or lightning to rend and split asunder, not the stormy torrent or eroding rain, but the tender snow-flowers noiselessly falling through unnumbered centuries, the offspring of the sun and sea. Laboring harmoniously in united strength, they crushed and ground and wore away the rocks in their march, making vast beds of soil, and at the same time developed and fashioned the landscapes into the delightful variety of hill and dale and lordly mountain that mortals call beauty.... And our admiration must be excited again and again as we toil and study and learn that this vast job of rock-work, so far-reaching in its influences, was done by agents so fragile and small as are these flowers of the mountain clouds.... Thus and so on it has oftentimes seemed to me sang and planned and labored the hearty snow-flower crusaders; and nothing that I can write can possibly exaggerate the grandeur and beauty of their work. ~John Muir, "The Sierra Nevada," The Mountains of California
Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons,
It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.
The sensitive soul is awake to that quick spontaneous thrill of joy from lovely things — a strain of music, a glow of color, the stirring fragrance of the morning air. The world was made full of light, glowing with lavish wealth of color. We are surrounded with beautiful form in flower, fruit, and tree, in all living creatures, in the very stones and rocks and in the sculptured gardens of the hills. The flowers exhale fragrance, and moonlight lends to the scene already fair, the glamour and witchery of fairyland. But these wonders are not for the pleasure only of the few sensitive souls — they are for uplifting us all in the simple delight of beauty. Take to heart nature's lessons of peace, and in this appreciation we will find that the earth and water belongs to all of us. ~Bertha Payne, "Feeling for the Beautiful an Instinct of Childhood," 1894 [modified —tg]
Each sunshine-moment twinkles by
A white-winged, wandering butterfly,
Through sky half golden and half blue,
With white-rose cloudlets rippling through.
A world of flowers is at our feet;
The soft wind's gladsome, warm, and sweet...
~W.T., "Honeymoon Cottage," Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Arts, 1862 June 28th
May your search through Nature lead you to yourself. ~Author unknown
I'm terribly sorry, but nature is not always family-friendly! ~Animal Crossing: Wild World, Nintendo video game written by Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka, and Toshihiro Kawabata
Nature, as we know her, is no saint.... She comes eating and drinking and sinning. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Experience"
But Nature is no sentimentalist, — does not cosset or pamper us. We must see that the world is rough and surly, and will not mind drowning a man or a woman, but swallows your ship like a grain of dust. The cold, inconsiderate of persons, tingles your blood, benumbs your feet, freezes a man like an apple. The diseases, the elements, fortune, gravity, lightning, respect no persons. The way of Providence is a little rude. The habit of snake and spider, the snap of the tiger and other leapers and bloody jumpers, the crackle of the bones of his prey in the coil of the anaconda, — these are in the system, and our habits are like theirs. You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughter-house is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity... Let us not deny it up and down. Providence has a wild, rough, incalculable road to its end, and it is of no use to try to whitewash its huge, mixed instrumentalities, or to dress up that terrific benefactor in a clean shirt and white neckcloth of a student in divinity. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Fate"
[A]nd now I might
As happy be as earth is beautiful...
~Edward Thomas (1878-1917), "October"
[M]atter — the soil, the trees, the water, the plants, the animals and even man — is neither created nor destroyed. Instead it has existed on earth since the beginning of time and it has been used over and over again, year after year, century after century... The process is tireless and as sure as eternity... And while it continues, the earth shall live. If it ever stops true death will come and there will be nothing, for our planet receives little usable matter from other parts of the universe and it loses hardly any at all into the vastness of space. ~R. D. Lawrence, The Place in the Forest, 1967
I know not your decree to keep the Sabbath day holy. Go tell it to the brook. It will chortle at your implied desecration of the other six. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912
exquisite beauty and elegance
antique yet fresh
~Terri Guillemets, "O! Nature," 2019, blackout poetry created from "Pericles," The Harvard Classics: Plutarch's Lives, 1937, page 49, published from the Dryden's Clough translation, 1859
I preach the mountains, and everything that is taller than a man. Giant shafts of trees, such shafts as one sees only in the stupendous forest of the far West, shot straight into the sky. We were up before the dawn. So titanic was the forest. The trails led us up and up, under spruce boughs becoming fragrant, over needle-strewn floors still heavy with darkness, disclosing glimpses now and then of gray light showing eastward between the boles. Suddenly the forest stopped, and we found ourselves on the crest of a great ridge, floating on a sea of darkness. Scarcely had we spoken in the miles of our ascent, and now words would be sacrilege. The gray light grew into white. Wrinkles and features grew into the mountain. Gradually a ruddy light appeared in the east. Then a flash of red shot out of the horizon, struck on a point of the summit, and caught from crag to crag and snow to snow until the great mass was streaked and splashed with fire. Slowly the darkness settled away from its base; a tree emerged; a bird chirped; and the morning was born! Far hills rose first through rolling billows of mist. Then came wide forests of spruce. As the panorama rose, the mountain changed from red to gold. Then the forest rang with calls of birds and a hundred joyous noises, and the creation was complete! ~Liberty Hyde Bailey, "The Realm of the Commonplace," The Outlook to Nature, 1905 [Sunrise on Mt. Shasta. A little altered. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
Round in rings,
~Mark Van Doren, "Paradox," 7 P. M. & Other Poems, 1926
The wide silence held a murmuring of life in its heart: the hum of bees, scolding stone-chats protecting their nest, the lonely cry of a curlew, like a lost soul, wheeling far above in the immensity of the sky. Phenice and Jasper travelled for miles through Nature's speaking silence. ~Elizabeth Godfrey (Jessie Bedford), The Winding Road, 1902 [a little altered —tg]
Perfect silence in Nature is impossible. Even in that awful hush before a thunderstorm, when the world seems dead, already slain by some cataclysmic disaster, the tiny twitter of a bird, the cry of a sheep or the fluttering of a dead leaf to earth, breaks the stillness; and in the darkest hours of night an owl may hoot mournfully, a vagrant wind disturb the slumbering trees. Only those with ears untuned to the infinite minute sounds of Nature dream that there can be silence, for absolute silence is an attribute of death, and Nature is eternally pregnant with life.... the choiring of the birds at dawn, the minute yet miraculous drone of the insects on a hot summer's day — humming of a multitude of flies and bees, chirping of grasshoppers, the almost imperceptible thrum of hovering wings. How still, how quiet the mind must be to absorb their infinitesimal music! ~Dallas Kenmare Browne Kelsey (c.1905–1970), "The Music of Nature," 1931
The finest music is that which Nature plays on her leafy harps. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897
I am the gentle dreamer,
Weaving in and out a warp of the moon with a woof of the mist...
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Red Threads of My Heart: VI," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923
While the yellow constellations shine with pale and tender glory,
In the lilac-scented stillness let us listen to earth's story.
All the flowers like moths a-flutter glimmer rich with dusky hues;
Everywhere around us seem to fall from nowhere the sweet dews.
Through the drowsy lull, the murmur, stir of leaf and sleepy hum,
We can feel a gay heart beating, hear a magic singing come.
Ah, I think that as we linger lighting at earth's olden fire
Fitful gleams in clay that perish, little sparks that soon expire:
So the Mother brims her gladness from a life beyond her own,
From whose darkness as a fountain up the fiery days are thrown;
Starry words that wheel in splendour, sunny systems, histories,
Vast and nebulous traditions told in the eternities.
And our listening Mother whispers through her children all the story.
Come: the yellow constellations shine with pale and tender glory!
~Æ (George William Russell), "The Singing Silences," Homeward Songs by the Way, 1894
If I might bring one orchid out of my soul...
If I might bring out of its sensitized soil one tinted petal, one delicate tendril, one gossamer tracery of leaf!
What in all my striving days do I bring forth like the grace of a single wilding rose?...
Shall I ever have a single hour like the burst of God's unnumbered dawns of day?
Shall I ever bring forth in all the years of my barren being like the verdure that grows with ease on the sides of high hills?
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: XLIX," A Soul's Faring, 1921
Ah, if he could have plunged up into the clouds, so as to sweep thereon through the undulating heavens over the boundless earth!—ah, if he could have floated with the flower-fragrance over the flowers,—could have streamed with the wind over the summits, through the woods! ~Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, Hesperus, or Forty-Five Dog-Post-Days: A Biography, translated from German by Charles T. Brooks, 1865
This crystal sapphire of the sky
Is saner far than you and I,
Who in our passions and our dreams
Run evermore to wild extremes.
The pure perfection of the sea
Lies not in mirth and tragedy;
But like the silence of the snows
In breadth of beauty and repose.
God give one moment, ere we die,
As crystal clear as the blue sky,
Serene as ocean, white as snow,
And glowing as the heavens glow.
~Philip Henry Savage (1868–1899), "Serene," Poems, 1898
If your nerves are on edge, if you find it hard to plan, to concentrate, to execute, if your stomach is upset and temper none too good, I urge you to try a cure by nature. Escape from your everyday environment, forget its problems, and go to a quiet place where you can have in abundance nature's medicine of sunshine and fresh air. Camp, go to the countryside, go to your local city park — the most rural-looking park convenient to you. Listen to nature. Talk very little. Sleep whenever you feel inclined. Study the sky, the trees, the flowers, the myriad living things in the open spaces around you. Let nature minister to you until you once more feel really able to cope with the cares and tasks of the ordinary life. ~H. Addington Bruce, Nerve Control and How to Gain It, 1918 [a little altered —tg]
How glorious art thou, Earth! And if thou be
The shadow of some spirit lovelier still...
~Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822), Prometheus Unbound
'T was a great while ago when you wrote me, I remember the leaves were falling — and now there are falling snows; who maketh the two to differ — are not leaves the brethren of snows? ~Emily Dickinson, letter to Annie P. Strong, 1851
To the sparkling fountains,
To the sun-tipped mountains,
Haste away, haste away.
Fill with living motion
Earth, and air, and ocean,
Where the dark wave dashes,
Where the billow washes
The bare rock, the bare rock,
Curb the storm's wild raging,
Where its war is waging
With the deep, with the deep.
Now when all rejoices,
And the tuneful voices
Of all things, of all things,
Swell with holy gladness;
When bitter, bitter sadness
Flies afar, flies afar,
Let us join the chorus
Of nature here before us,
Blessing GOD, blessing GOD...
~John Stanley Tute, "The Angels," Holy Times and Scenes, 1846
A man really lives when he finds himself deep in the forest, bathing in the sunshine, or gazing across the dewy countryside where every leaf and twig is a-gleam with Nature's scintillating jewels. ~Roy M. Britain, Spiral Gates, 1971
Not all the world can banish from my eyes
The simple glories of the day's sunrise;
Not circumstance nor fate e'er drive away
The clear perfection of one summer day,
Nor blot quite wholly from my sight
The singing tumult of the mystic night.
~Philip Henry Savage (1868–1899), "Posthumous Poems," The Poems of Philip Henry Savage, 1901
In fairyland we avoid the word "law"; but in the land of science they are singularly fond of it.... The only words that ever satisfied me as describing Nature are the terms used in fairy books, "charm," "spell," "enchantment." They express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery. ~G.K. Chesterton, "The Ethics of Elfland," Orthodoxy
Beneath our feet a fairy pathway flows,
The grass still glitters in the summer breeze,
The dusky wood, and distant copse appear,
And that lone stream, upon whose chequer'd face
We mused, when noon-rays made the pebbles gleam,
Is mirror'd to the mind: though all around
Be rattling hoofs and roaring wheels, the eye
Is wand'ring where the heart delights to dwell.
~Robert Montgomery, "Beautiful Influences," A Universal Prayer; Death; A Vision of Heaven; and A Vision of Hell; &c. &c., 1829
Every man who departs from nature is courting trouble. ~E.W. Howe
Surely a man needs a closed place wherein he may strike root and, like the seed, become. But also he needs the great Milky Way above him and the vast sea spaces, though neither stars nor ocean serve his daily needs. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Wisdom of the Sands, translated from French by Stuart Gilbert
What would you do—
If you had ear and brain attuned superbly
To all the iridescent humming-birds of faint
And delicate overtones
That play like spirit flames
Above the music?
Suppose your eyes could see
What mine see when a little wind passes,
And all the garden is suddenly barred and starred
With flying color.
Suppose the tilting planes of dogwood bloom,
In the green spring mist of young leaves,
Caught your breath as though a hand
Held your throat—
Or that the red haw veiling herself in May
Kept you awake at nights
Remembering her bridal look.
Oh, suppose this world of nuances,
Opal-soft and frail and swift,
Were for you a reality more hard
Than things you call reality,
And you lived always among the deaf and blind—
What would you do?
~Henry Bellamann, "The Artist," c.1921
All the uglinesses of the world can best be forgotten in the beauty of nature! ~Mehmet Murat ildan
El Ponderosita bristled with native habitat that reached deep into the infinity of innocent eyes. Old mesquite and ebony trees graced the earth with their slumberous shade; and filling the voids beneath them were solitary shrubs and clumps of spiny cactus. Crown of thorns, cenizo, granjeno, nopal, uña de gato, pitaya, Mormon tea, lote bush, retama, chaparro prieto, huisachillo, pencil cactus, salvia, guajillo, horse crippler, coma, fish-hook cactus, alicoche cactus, pincushion cactus, anacahuita, tasajillo, ocote, palo verde, coyotillo, brasil, yucca, guayacan, and scores of other shrubs and small trees — a large percentage of them legumes, almost all with thorns and each perfectly suited for its particular niche in Brushland ecology — stood in stalwart tranquility. ~Arturo Longoria, Adios to the Brushlands, 1997 [Texas –tg]
I cannot polish down my longing
For love; and palely pass along
The garden pathway, unreceiving
The wealth of it—bee's hum—bird's song.
I want the love of all about me,
To be at one with all of life,
Commune with every single thing.
I beg that roses startle me
With scent as sharp as human pain,
I would be drenched in blues of spring,
Hear low, soft secrets of the rain.
I want the love I feel that's throbbing
In trees and grass, in stars and wind,
I'd know an everlasting fullness—
Completeness, wonder, without end.
~George Elliston, "Completeness," 1927
The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom. ~Theodore Roosevelt
Fungi — the numerous and often marvellous phases of low life developed upon living plants, decaying vegetable substances, dead leaves, and rotten sticks — constitutes a fairy flora of forests and gardens with features as varied, and fruits as multiform, as those of the trees and flowers of the earth. In the most minute of created things, we discover the phenomena of mycetal life. ~M. C. Cooke, Rust, Smut, Mildew, & Mould, 1865 [a little altered —tg]
The birds that wake the morning, and those that love the shade;
The winds that sweep the mountain or lull the drowsy glade;
The Sun that from his amber bower rejoiceth on his way,
The Moon and Stars, their Master's name in silent pomp display.
~Reginald Heber (1783–1826), "Seventh Sunday After Trinity," Hymns, Written and Adapted to the Weekly Church Service of the Year [The original version of this was a poem titled "Spring," published in 1816. This modified version was published posthumously in 1827 by his widow Amelia Heber. The wording of the two versions has quite a few variations. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
There on the hills of summer let me lie
On the cool grass in friendship with the sky.
Let me lie there in love with earth and sun,
And wonder up at the light-foot winds that run,
Stirring the delicate edges of the trees,
And shaking down a music of the seas.
~Edwin Markham, "At Friends with Life," The Shoes of Happiness and Other Poems, 1913
Why not let the universe explain itself? Why not read it by its own light?... God is a figure of speech, but Nature is a reality. Let us trust what we know. Nature is never capricious. Fire will always burn, water will always drown, frost will always freeze. ~Lemuel K. Washburn, Is the Bible Worth Reading and Other Essays, 1911
There is not a creature unacquainted with gratification, in some shape or another. All derive it from the circumstances amid which they exist, which fact quietly suggests to us that the purest and most lasting pleasures are to be found at our very feet,— that they are not necessarily the fruit of toil and outlay, but that they flow to us out of the very nature of things, if we will but be content with what is simple and genuine.... The foot that is familiar with the grass belongs usually to a man of lighter heart than he whose soles seldom wander from the pavement; and the best elixir vitæ is a run, as often as we can contrive it, amid the sweets of new and lovely scenery, where nature sits, fresh from the hand of the Creator, almost chiding us for our delay. ~Leo Hartley Grindon, "Insects," The Little Things of Nature: Considered Especially in Relation to the Divine Benevolence, 1865
He is one of those who has had the wilderness for a pillow, and called a star his brother. ~Dag Hammarskjöld, 1950, translated from the Swedish by Leif Sjöberg and W. H. Auden, Markings, 1964
The Bald Mountain:
No verdure crowns me, a few flowers hide
In my rocky shelter...
My brother mountains tower afar,
In solemn ranges sweeping to the skies...
And yet for me the ancient earth has given
A crown of beauty that is all alone,
I too am of the earth, o'er me is heaven,
For me the purple mornings have their birth,
For me the snows are driven.
And I stand here to prove that loneliness
And lack of beauty are as near to God,
As peopled slopes with countless beings...
The mornings and the evenings are all mine,
The noondays and the starry, wondrous night,
The plains and flowers, and all things divine,
That mark with change all things within my sight,
These, these are ever mine.
~Ouina (Cora L. V. Scott Richmond), given through her Medium "Water Lily," Ouina's Canoe, 1882 [a little altered —tg]
The task of a parent is to see that the impressionable boy or girl (and they are all impressionable) is given the right surroundings in which to develop the more beautiful side of nature. ~John Crawley, "The Realm of Faery," Reveries of a Father, 1924
I know a valley in the summer hills,
Haunted by little winds and daffodils;
Faint footfalls and soft shadows pass at noon;
Noiseless, at night, the clouds assemble there;
And ghostly summits hang below the moon—
Dim visions lightly swung in silent air.
~Edwin Markham, "The Valley"
Oh! the marguerites in the meadows; the little paths under the trembling leaves; the nests hidden in the ivies against the old walls; and the nightingales on moonlight nights; and the sweet conversations, hand in hand, on the brinks of wells, lined with honeysuckles and carpeted with maiden's-hair and moss... and everything that moves and charms you, and makes an impression on your heart.... my soul inundated and my heart refreshed by innocence and candor, as a little rain refreshes the little flower too much burned by the sun, too much dried by the wind.... I really needed a quieter life, to restore me a little. ~Octave Mirbeau, A Chambermaid's Diary / Le Journal d'une Femme de Chambre, 1900, translated from the French by Benjamin R. Tucker
leaves — lovers
of the gentle breeze
trees — brothers
of roots that weave
soil — giver
of life through earth
sun — mother
of golden light's birth
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. ~E. B. White, 1956
I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds and bowers,
Of April, May, of June, and July-flowers...
There are times in life when trouble brings us in such communion with nature that the rocks appear to be in sympathy with us, and the waving branches of the trees seem like angel hands fanning away our sorrows. ~James Lendall Basford
Lord, let me thank Thee for the rains,
And for the sunshine and the dew,
For grass that carpets hills and plains,
For flowers that make glad the view,
For snow that hides the naked trees...
They have brought comfort, all of these...
~Wilbur D. Nesbit, "My Company of Friends," 1910
Society, as we have constituted it, will have no place for me, has none to offer; but Nature, whose sweet rains fall on unjust and just alike, will have clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undisturbed. She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole. ~Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) [However, as beautiful as is his description of sweet Nature in this piece, "He asked too much, both from Nature and from himself.... Nature could only harbour for a moment this liver in great cities who had told her that her use was to illustrate quotations from the poets, and had said that he preferred to have her captive on his walls in the canvases of Corot and Constable, than to live in her cruder landscapes. He had never intended to make too elaborate an advance to her.... He knew that reading Baudelaire in a café would be more natural to him than an agricultural existence. He was determined, however, not to return to the extravagances of his life before prison, and he hoped that the country would help him keep his resolve." ~Arthur Ransome, Oscar Wilde: A Critical Study, 1912 —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
Voice of the wind,
Of the rollicking wind in the trees;
Voice of the leaves,
Of the sweet-singing boughs in the breeze;
Voice of the streams,
Of the silver tongued waves on the shore;
Voice of the shower,
Of the mirthful, May-visioned downpour;
Voice of the stars,
Of the lyre-tuned lights of the sky;
Voice of the flowers,
Of the blithe buds that know not a sigh;
Voice of the birds,
Of the nest-seeking spirits of light;
Voice of the dark,
Of the golden imperious night;
Voice of my soul,
Thou art wind, wave and shower,
Leaf, dark, and bower,
Bird, star and flower
One and inseparable whole!
~Blanche Shoemaker Wagstaff, "Voices," Narcissus and Other Poems, 1918
[H]e ran, he stopped—he dipped his glowing face into the cloud of blossoming bushes, and would fain lose himself in the humming world between the leaves; he pressed the scratched face into the deep, cooling grass, and hung delirious on the breast of the immortal mother of Spring. ~Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, Hesperus, or Forty-Five Dog-Post-Days: A Biography, translated from German by Charles T. Brooks, 1865
...no matter its mood, the wilderness is nearly always able to tranquilize my mind. ~R. D. Lawrence (1921–2003), The North Runner, 1979
O you, my sister,
Makes me happy…
And you, stream,
At the water's edge
What can I say,
In my delirium?
I admire you…
And I sigh…
Love one day,
~Octave Mirbeau, The Diary of a Chambermaid, 1900, translated from French (versets de Mlle. Célestine R—)
Nature drives a man to belief in something, or rather some one, behind it all. The basis of religion is Nature worship. H. G. Wells wants me to give up wondering who made the world, because it has nothing to do with religion, being a purely scientific question. What a comic person he is... He could never write poetry or really understand religion; they are both too primitive...
You cannot leave Nature out of religion when you love it, and all natural men do. The natural man's first argument for God is always flowers or trees or brussels sprouts or something. You have to worship Nature or the Maker of it. It calls you. You are part of it. You draw your very life, your power to worship and adore, from the vitals of this poor battered earth. Nature means well, and the beauty of its million colours and the music of its million sounds just pull your heart-strings and you have to worship...
You can't leave Nature out. It's like telling a man to leave out his heart and lop along with his liver. Nature is one of God's fruits by which we have to know Him. I know it is hard to see in Nature what God is; its many voices seem to contradict one another. Its tenderness and cruelty, its order and its chaos, its beauty and its ugliness, make discords in its song and mar the music of its message to the soul of man...
Nevertheless, the heart of the ordinary man will always turn away from these things and come back to the glory of a summer dawn and worship the Maker of it. ~G. A. Studdert Kennedy, "God In Nature," The Hardest Part, 1919
Upon a time-blanch'd cliff to muse, and, while
The eagle glories in a sea of air,
To mingle with the scene around!—Survey
The sun-warm heaven...
~Robert Montgomery, "Beautiful Influences," A Universal Prayer; Death; A Vision of Heaven; and A Vision of Hell; &c. &c., 1829
In the matter of individuality, I have for some years now offered a reward of $100 for anyone who can find me two identical leaves on the same tree, or two identical tree trunks, or two identical animals. So far, I have not had any takers. ~R. D. Lawrence, "The Study of Life," A Shriek in the Forest Night: Wilderness Encounters, 1996
Sometimes, in the grip of a sudden poetic mood, I buried myself in a God-forsaken corner of the country, and in the presence of nature aspired to purity, silence and moral rehabilitation which, alas! never lasted very long. ~Octave Mirbeau, "The Mission," The Torture Garden, 1899, translated from the French by Alvah C. Bessie, 1931
Today my heart is steeped in sound—
I'm drunk with listening, and I hear
And all the garden 'round about
Bees' hum—crickets—and each low wind
That softly blows.
Tomorrow I shall move along
Nor catch a single greeting as
I longing pass
But oh today—today is sound
I hear the world itself, the world,
~George Elliston, "Sound," Through Many Windows, 1924
And after half a mile's ride through a beautiful grove, they emerged into a little clearing, which seemed to Bessie's astonished eyes like a patch of beauty dropped from heaven. In the centre stood a small log house, so overrun with clinging vines that it seemed at first but a green and flowery mound. To the south of it a little garden stretched away in natural terraces; on the east a small, but luxuriant fruit orchard reared its graceful young trees, whose branches even thus early in the season hung low with their promise of gold and crimson harvest. To the west a meadow, soft and mossy as an English lawn, sloped down to a silvery brook, whose birthplace was in the rocky hill, a little to the north, down whose steep bank its pure waters came leaping and singing, with bright rainbows sparkling ever about its fairy pathway. Back of the rustic lodge, a cool, dim, but magnificent forest stretched away till its long aisles met the feet of hoary mountains which completely shut in the little nook from the great world beyond. ~Mrs. Caroline A. Soule, "The Tory's Niece," c.1858
dried crackling leaves
are never quite still
~Terri Guillemets, "Feuille morte," 2020
Truly it may be said that the outside of a mountain is good for the inside of a man. ~George Wherry, 1892
I am drunk with being, —
Life's inebriate reeling down an enchanted way.
I shout my maudlin greeting to the trees.
I grasp familiarly the gentle fingers of the grass.
I press my wine-wet lips to the roses with my insistent kissing.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Creation Songs: IV," A Soul's Faring, 1921
He deems the Wild the sweetest of friends, and travels on where there journeys above him the Mother of all the clustered stars. ~Ta'abata Sharran, 7th century CE, translated by C. J. Lyall, 1877
I am coming the upward route, the hill road. I am leaning hard on my staff, my mountain boots are torn — but I am coming, I am on the far, high ledge.
I am coming with a spray of kinnikinnic in my mountain coat, and the autumn colors in my mountain soul.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "At the Roots of Grasses: V," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923
The leaf-tongues of the forest, and the flower-lips of the sod—
The happy Birds that hymn their raptures in the ear of God—
The summer wind that bringeth music over land and sea,
Have each a voice that singeth this sweet song of songs to me—
"This world is full of beauty, as other worlds above,
And, if we did our duty, it might be as full of love."
~Gerald Massey (1828–1907), "This World Is Full of Beauty"
I have never seen a wildflower in all its beauty be ashamed of where it grows. ~Michael Xavier
Mother Nature is the ultimate truth of the show must go on. ~Terri Guillemets, "Relentless," 1991
Have I expanded to meet the hills? What has the out-of-doors meant to me? Something to be glimpsed through a window? Something remote? Was it not mine to open to it, to walk straight into it? Why did I not walk out into the limitlessness and get the big perspective? There is such abundance and room of Nature, and such meagerness of space in me. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: XLVI," A Soul's Faring, 1921 [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
This valley, once laurel and leaf,
now cluttered with signs of man's busy passion,
makes me wonder; how was it in full breathing
of grass miles and clear waters,
without fabulous facade of man's tinkering fervour?...
~William Pillin, "The Blue Fear," 1957
Rain is my favorite color
Autumn's breath is too
Sunshine on the water
A sunset breeze's hue
The taste of freedom excites me
And the smell of love brand new
I touch your soul and feel its silk
Hear the silence and know it's true
~Terri Guillemets, "Rain is my favorite color," 1988
...a morning-land full of immeasurable hopes encircled him; he stripped his breast, threw himself all aglow into the dripping grass, washed (but not with any higher purpose than girls have) his firm face with liquid June-snow... ~Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, Hesperus, or Forty-Five Dog-Post-Days: A Biography, translated from German by Charles T. Brooks, 1865
Nature's beautiful dancers — flowers, water, leaves
Dancing to the music of a sweet gentle breeze...
There's a feel of all things flowing,
And no power of Earth can bind them;
There's a sense of all things growing,
And through all their forms aglowing
Of the shaping souls behind them...
In the stone a dream is sleeping,
Just a tinge of life, a tremor;
In the tree a soul is creeping—
Last, a rush of angels sweeping
With the skies beyond the dreamer...
~Edwin Markham, "The Climb of Life"
What a fabulous, wonderful land! Not a sound of humanity is to be heard, not a sign of my own species have we yet glimpsed. The sounds are pure wild, so are the sights. ~R. D. Lawrence (1921–2003), The North Runner, 1979 [British Columbia area of Canada, in the late 1950s —tg]
sunshine has no budget
the sea no red tape
trees do not license
themselves to the countryside
the bees don't invoice the flowers
there is no committee of oceans
and I've never seen a bird
take out nest owner's insurance...
~Terri Guillemets, "As early as," 1991
Golden Sunlight, Moonlight pale,
Day and Night, are not for sale.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Days," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924
This was it, the place I had unknowingly been looking for... The nearest human was more than a mile away... no telephones, no power lines, but unlimited peace spiced by the sounds of the northland, the bird calls, the often-heard howl of the timber wolf... Winter came and... days of wandering through the white-topped land and the nights of sound, nightmare-free slumber and dawns the like of which I had never before experienced and an appetite, a gusto for simple food that made breakfast a feast, lunch an event, and dinner a gourmet's delight. ~R. D. Lawrence (1921–2003), The North Runner, 1979
The whole universe is hurled daily around our heads in an unerring orbit. ~Christopher Morley (1890–1957), "A Slice of Sunlight," Travels in Philadelphia, 1920 [a little altered —tg]
Nature befriends those who befriend her. ~Terri Guillemets
I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,
And the tree-toad is a chef-d'œuvre for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,
And the cow crunching with depress'd head surpasses any statue,
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels.
I am not a lover of lawns; on the contrary, I regard them, next to gardens, as the least interesting adjuncts of the country-house. Grass, albeit the commonest, is yet one of the most beautiful things in Nature when allowed to grow as Nature intended, or when not too carefully trimmed and brushed. Rather would I see daisies in their thousands, ground ivy, hawkweed, and even the hated plantain with tall stems, and dandelions with splendid flowers and fairy down, than the too-well-tended lawn grass. ~W. H. Hudson
We say of the oak, "How grand of girth!"
Of the willow we say, "How slender!"
And yet to the soft grass, clothing earth,
How slight is the praise we render!...
Each year her buttercups nod and drowse,
With sun and dew brimming over;
Each year she pleases the greedy cows
With oceans of honeyed clover...
~Edgar Fawcett (1847–1904), "Grass" (c.1877), Songs of Doubt and Dream #grassfed
...there is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me... ~Thomas Jefferson, 1790 [This is a from a letter to his family scolding them for not writing to him. —tg]
The primary producers of the living world are the green plants. ~Claude Alvin Villee, Jr., Biology, 1954
You lie dead and cold—
Who could fathom what you hold?—
Bones of poets, castles, carved marble—
A doll's head.
You lie dead and cold—
~Willard Maas, "Dirt," 1926
The supply of youthful freshness... was now, he said, quite drained out of him. He... could not enjoy himself while his country was suffering, and when he wandered, melancholy and pensive, through the woods in April, and saw for the first time that year the budding trees, and the cowslips and buttercups in the fresh green grass, and the note of the cuckoo struck upon his ear again, he was half surprised, and almost offended that spring, which he had clean forgotten all about, should visit the land just as if there were no such thing as war and disaster, and national humiliation. ~R. Nisbet Bain, Hans Christian Andersen: A Biography, 1895
Innovative capitalists have tried to rewrite nature, but to no avail — in the long run, nature always wins. ~Terri Guillemets, "Always a price," 2007
Oh, I can lay my heart upon
A tender summer's day,
And hear the wind-swept words that flowers
On garden pathways say.
If you would know their little songs
You must be very still
And leave your laughter far away
Upon the highest hill;
And you must wear a mood of gold,
And fold yourself about
With dreams of stars and clouds and skies,
And never have a doubt.
Ah, then you will hear wondrous things;
Shy trees will talk to you,
You will learn mysteries very old
And secrets very new.
~George Elliston, "Confidence," Bright World, 1927
We are a part of everything real and natural, and therefore they are a part of us. If we don't fight them, but let them flow through us, they will never bother us, only enrich us. It is such a simple principle that most of us miss it. But by missing it, we miss most of what life is all about. ~Tom Brown, Jr.
How free one feels, how good the elements taste, how close one gets to them, how they fit one's body and one's soul! To see the fire that warms you, or better yet, to cut the wood that feeds the fire that warms you; to see the spring where the water bubbles up that slakes your thirst, and to dip your pail into it... to be in direct and personal contact with the sources of your material life; to want no extras, no shields; to find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk, or an evening saunter; to find a quest of wild berries more satisfying than a gift of tropic fruit; to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest, or over a wild flower in spring — there are some of the rewards of the simple life. ~John Burroughs, "What Life Means to Me," 1906
Nature never goes out of style. ~Terri Guillemets, "Beneath the pine," 1989
published 1998 Mar 18
last saved 2022 Sep 27