Feeling a Little Down? Consider the Beauty of Nature
One refuge is to consider the beauty of nature.
Nature is impersonal, awe-inspiring, elegant, eternal. It’s geometrically perfect. It’s tiny and gigantic. You can travel far to be in a beautiful natural setting, or you can observe it in your backyard — or, in my case, in the trees lining New York City sidewalks, or in the clouds above skyscrapers.
A few nights ago, my eight-year-old daughter burst into my office. She was very excited to show me a video, Pendulum Waves, which shows extraordinary patterns created by the simple pendulum.
Watching the video, I was struck, for the millionth time, by the beauty of nature. I often remind myself of one of my favorite quotations, from Boethius,
“Contemplate the extent and stability of the heavens, and then at last cease to admire worthless things.”
Or I remind myself to “Consider the elephant“ — wonder why?
The Natural History Museum is open to the public on Tuesdays and Fridays. Elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus; extraordinary animals! Rubens rendered them marvelously. I had a feeling of happiness as soon as I entered the place and the further I went the stronger it grew.
I felt my whole being rise above commonplaces and trivialities and the petty worries of my daily life. What an immense variety of animals and species of different shapes and functions!
Do you find that when you’re caught in the troubles of your own experience — whether those are grave problems, or petty annoyances — that contemplating nature is helpful?
The extent and stability of the heavens! In a shell, in an elephant, in the clouds, in a rock formation, in the action of a pendulum.
Years ago, my brilliant friend Kim Malone Scott wrote a novel, Virtual Love, about love and life at Google, but I never got to read it, because she didn’t publish it. I was so happy to learn that at last she has published it, and I’ve ordered my copy of Virtual Love. You can read a rave discussion of it in a Wired article by Steven Levy, The Lost Google Novel that Takes a Better Look at Tech Culture than The Circle.
Rubin, G. (2013). Feeling a Little Down? Consider the Beauty of Nature. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 28, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/10/19/feeling-a-little-down-consider-the-beauty-of-nature/