Divinity and the Woods

by Jack Walsh

(originally in March 2000 newsletter)

On a recent walk through the woods, I was struck by the singular nature of early March and the efflorescence in nature that was just beginning to occur. As I was feeling an increase in energy and enjoying the impulse to get out and move my winter stiffened limbs, as I responded to the call of the rejuvenating affect of Spring, my close relationship with the plant world became clearly manifested. Just as all living beings are dependent upon the power of the sun; it appears that all living creatures, humans included, are respondent to the awakening call of the spring time; it makes our sap run.

In some of the world religions, some Eastern religions come to mind, nature is looked upon as a clear indication of the divine. The devout Easterner sees divinity in all living things and his springtime walk is a truly spiritual experience. Every moment pulsating with burgeoning plant and insect life, every swelling of every bud, is nothing more to him than a redolent accentuation of the mystery and wonder of life, and, as such, can only be described by reference to the mysteries of the spirit and a humble deference to a higher power.

I like this outlook, though I don't consider myself a religious man. Often I feel an inexplicable sense of wellbeing when in contact with the inner sanctum of nature that we call the woods. Indeed, when I fail to bath myself in its emotionally cleansing quality for an extended period, I suffer and feel ill at ease. It's a common experience that I've heard others mention. There is an obvious intercourse with nature that occurs for the fortunate person who has learned to see and feel its effects. Nevertheless, I fear not enough of our species has made the relation and, as a result, live more poorly and squalidly in spirit for it.

Another reason I like this Eastern approach to nature lies in the realization of its salubrious effect upon the environment. Whenever and wherever nature is seen as divine, there is a respondent care and solicitation for its health. The devout Easterner has more than a simple practical respect for the health of a tree; he sees in it a living entity with a similar right to life as his own. The tree, with its resident insects and birds, are all seen as vibrant indications of the presence of the mysteries of life. The result is that existing forests are holy places and deforestation isn't the plague it is in the Western World or in those nations badly suffering from westernization.

Which brings me back to our beloved Lynn Woods. We who have learned to cleanse our spirits in nature have developed and fostered a passionate love for our oasis in the city. We're protective of its wellbeing and affronted by those who would detract from its health. We've learned to simulate its qualities in our own backyards where we plant only native species, and we treat with a fabled solicitude our yearly visitors of the avian world who depend upon our knowledge of the plants they need to thrive, those that not only supply them with fruits and berries, but also attract the insects they need to feed their young. We long for a growth in the understanding of those less enlightened, and we fantasize over the neighborhood where insecticides and herbicides are alien, and where the growth of native shrubs and trees proliferate and become legion.

But when our imaginations grow weary with disappointment over the reality of current ecologically disparaging trends, we look for solace and rejuvenation from an old and trustworthy friend. We head to the woods and look for divinity in nature.

See Also


Bringing Home the Woods by Jack Walsh

Change and the Woods

Holiday Greeting

Lions and Pirates and Caterpillars, oh my!

Lynn Woods Reflections

Minutes from SSSP

Old Names in Lynn Woods

Stay Tuned: Arbor Day

Stay Tuned: Dungeon Rock

Stay Tuned: Houghton Horticultural Societ

Stay Tuned: Odd Fellows Hall

The end of an error!

The Vernal Pools of Lynn Woods

What Exactly is a Weetamoo?

Where Did It Come From?

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