Havens – Appreciating Nature
It’s what we, in our busy, analytical, grey-cubed world desire. I hear it more and more now that I am in the corporate world. Fridays are dead at the office. Everyone is on vacation. Away. Escape.
As I sit in my cubicle, surrounded by grey padded walls, sitting at a grey desk, staring at a website with the primary color of—you guessed it—grey, I have truly begun to understand this itching desire to escape. There aren’t any accessible windows. I never know what the weather’s like—even ninety degrees and stormy is cold and quiet in my office (I have a heater on my legs everyday).
I don’t think people really understand how glorious and refreshing creation is until they are separated from it. It’s like the Minnesota winters. Long. Cold. Dark. Grey. No wonder so many people in America are depressed. Work in a grey building is like sitting in the dead of winter—all year long.
Growing up in a small town, next to a wild life preserve, it’s hard to live in the suburbs. There are hardly any trees, and everyone is right on top of each other. I can’t sit in my backyard without feeling like the bachelors who live next to me are spying. It just makes me want to be inside even more. That’s why I’m super excited about the park down the street: Silverwood Park. It’s gorgeous and big.
Tuesday, I spent my evening here (see below), reading C.S. Lewis. It was refreshing smelling the lake water, watching the bugs skitter around my blanket, experience a fish lurching itself out of the water. I wanted to stay there for the whole week rather than return to my cubicle.
It’s not that I dislike my job or even the fact we have offices and cubicles. It’s just the sudden understanding of why so many people desire vacation—even if they love their job. They feel trapped.
Which is why I like to go to my favorite place is this little open area hidden in the middle of the woods. I’ve been up there for hours without seeing a soul. I swear no one knows it exists except the park workers.
The other day, I was actually lying in the middle of the clearing, contemplating Appreciative pleasure (I’m reading The Four Loves). It’s ironic how what you read and what you’re experiencing intertwine so intimately you wonder if they conspired together. Lewis was explaining how Appreciative pleasure is what helps us experience beauty:
It is the feeling which would make a man unwilling to deface a great picture even if he were the last man left alive and himself about to die; which makes us glad of unspoiled forests that we shall never see; which makes us anxious that the garden or bean-field should continue to exist. We do not merely like these things; we pronounce them, in a momentary God-like sense, “very good” (16).
It is this small clearing in the middle of the park that fills my heart with appreciation for nature. My secret haven in which I can enjoy authors’ words or ideas and write my own. How thoughtful God was in creating such places—and kind to preserve them despite our attempts to snuff out that which He created for us to enjoy.