One of my classmates recently gave a presentation about how important it is to take time to spend outdoors and just take in our surroundings. To breathe fresh air, listen to the wind and bird songs, watch sunlight glance off dragonfly’s wings. I agree with my classmate on a visceral level—I love the outdoors, and really always have. But I also think that our modern western view of Nature as an inherently peaceful entity reveals our separation from the natural world.
When Dawkins described nature as “neither kind nor cruel but indifferent,” I think he caught the gist of it. Nature is above all things indifferent, but to me it is also savage, glorious, dull, lonely, vibrantly alive yet always dying. Nature is change, to quote Ratatouille. It’s not just the rainbows after the storms.
Wilderness has many faces, a complex personality, and many moods. Only getting to know a person in times of sunshine isn’t truly getting to know them at all. Nature enthralls us because it is more than pleasant, more than peaceful. It’s untamed.