According to Leszek Kolakowski (Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?, Basic Books, 2007), Socrates was interested in the study of nature as a young man, but later abandoned this for the study of ideas. This makes me wonder how someone can cease to be a nature lover (if indeed that was the case) even if one grows into additional or other interests. Surely this need not – indeed, should not – be a case of either-or. Once a nature lover, always a nature lover – if one was truly a nature lover to begin with.

It might be argued that one can “fall out” of other types of love – romantic love of a person, for example – so why not love of nature? But doesn’t the death of romantic love involve disillusionment? How does one become disillusioned with natural beauty?

As a deist, I don’t pretend to know why the Creator created this mixed bag of a world, but we seem to have little choice but to take the bad along with the good. For those suffering the brutish and often fatal injustice of man and/or maker, natural beauty may be an irrelevant luxury. Does it not follow that, as bad as the bad is, the relatively fortunate among us have all the more reason to appreciate that which offers some measure of something to be inspired by and thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!

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