Solitude and Connection to Nature
Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his book: Nature, discusses the relevance of understanding the necessary qualities of solitude in experiencing the aesthetic value of nature. The author appreciates true solitude as a process of separating from the busy societal environment and engages directly with nature. He says, “To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society” (8). Emerson ascribes to the notion that human chamber is his place of comfort – that is, the social interactions he has with his closest associates. He mentions the need for a person to experience nature by opening his mind to interact with it. This interaction improves the ability of man to separate from social influences and make significant personal decisions. The narrator describes the unfortunate situation where noxious work cramps the body and mind. He, however, believes nature is the medicinal remedy of restoring human tone. For instance, he says “The tradesman, the attorney comes out of the din and craft of the street, and sees the sky and the woods, and is a man again” (13). Finding oneself through nature is a refreshing process of solitude.
Using stars as an example of nature value, Emerson discusses how stars help in understanding the true meaning of solitude. Emerson argues that, although stars are inaccessible, they have the power to “awaken a certain reverence and a kindred impression” (9). The silence of the stars is divine; it gives the impression of the calm attributes of nature. Besides, Emerson mentions that the presence of stars helped him to understand the “perpetual presence of the sublime”. In other words, when viewing the stars, he realizes the importance of being alone and experiencing nature on personal grounds. The author approves the concept that perceiving the nature of stars makes a person realize the broader view of life without getting influenced by the material world.
Emerson addresses the value of “natural objects” and how they can fill us with a sense of awe. Humans ought to develop an openness to nature’s influence. The author underscores the generosity of nature such as stars, by saying, “Nature never wears a mean appearance” (9). While the author describes the relevance of humans being open to stars’ influence, he also discusses the significance of other natural objects in achieving this experience. The literature artist describes the natural world using the word “beauty”. In describing beauty, Emerson bespeaks of the delight in developing the “simple perception of natural forms” (13). Nature brings complete satisfaction through its pure beauty. For instance, the author provides a vivid description of nature’s loveliness in the hill-top, “long slender bars of floating cloud and the silence of the sea” (13).
Emerson expresses the concern that most adults cannot perceive the value of nature the way children do. For one to experience nature’s worth, he has to view it through the eyes of a child. For instance, the narrator says, “The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child” (9). Such a description helps advance the concept of childhood memories in appreciating nature. Experiencing the natural objects in a child’s perspective occurs when the whole human system – the body and the spirit – works in unison to understand the essence of nature. According to Emerson (9), “The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other”. Besides, adults have to maintain an infancy spirit to perceive nature’s aesthetic attributes.
Having a child-like perception of nature is similar to how a poet sees it in terms of simplicity. By reflecting on the wisdom of natural objects, a poet appreciates the simplicity of nature. Emerson discusses a distinct poetical sense of mind which views nature as a hub of innocent natural objects. Specifically, he mentions that poets “mean the integrity of impression made by manifold natural objects” (9). These descriptions give an understanding of a poet’s vision. He further provides a narrative of a poet, equating him to “a property in the horizon which no man has but he whose eye can integrate all the parts” (9). The description proves a poet is integral in explaining the relevance of nature’s simplicity.
Emerson describes the significant process of a visionary man losing himself in nature and becoming a “transparent eye-ball” (9). Before that, the author narrates that all nature’s aspects ascribe to a particular state of mind. In this case, nature provides a perpetual youthful experience and joy, thus dealing with challenges a person faces on earth. All egotistical perceptions disappear, hence appreciating the Universal Being and His role in creating nature. Through the “transparent eye-ball”, the author’s consciousness becomes receptive and sensitive to God’s requirements. In his words, Emerson addresses the need to see all and that “the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me” and “I am part or particle of God” (9). The aspect increases oneness with the Universal Being by experiencing nature in a wider perspective.
Besides, the child-like perception of nature helps in understanding God’s power. A child’s developmental process establishes the appreciation of nature through a “transparent eye-ball”. Children are innocent, and thus, focus on the reality of nature rather than the challenges facing human nature. While Emerson speaks of how a wise man never understands nature’s secret, he describes how childhood brings simplicity. Specifically, he mentions that “The flowers, the animals, the mountains, reflected the wisdom of his best hour, as much as they had delighted the simplicity of his childhood” (9). Such descriptions prove that child-like experiences improve a person’s relationship with God through the awe of nature. Besides, he explains that a child has a balance between his inner and outer perspectives, thus experiencing the awe of nature. With such a description, it is evident that children have a deep connection with God, especially through their senses towards nature.
Another concept is how the poet sees the “natural objects” in developing the sense of connection with God. A poet’s simplicity expresses a notion that nature achieves its role in advancing God’s will. Natural objects bring a calming effect to human souls, helping them have an extraordinary view of supernatural aspects. The hills, the sun, and other objects explain the view of a poet in advancing the value of creation.
Essentially, Emerson provides a vivid description of the role of appreciating nature in achieving true solitude. As he discusses the importance of solitude, the author establishes the awe we view natural objects such as the stars. In a poetic assessment, Emerson puts into consideration how child-like attributes can help humans advance their need for nature’s aesthetics. He discusses the intensity at which humans have to perceive nature’s beauty, through the “transparent eye-ball” concept. The narrator is encouraging people to let nature guide them, thus improving their connection to God. That said, mankind can appreciate the will of the Universal Being by seeing nature as a wonder. Besides, child’s approach about nature is equivalent to poetic view of God’s power.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Nature. English 1A Course Reader. Edited by Nathan Wirth, Nathan’s Mind Inc., 2019.