I think this has become my all time most favorite and most steadying book. I go back to it often. There is a challenging subtext down below the beautiful poetic prose of its surface.
"To awaken a sense of our ancient longing for Nature can help us to anchor our longing. When we go out alone and enter its solitude, we return home to our souls. When you find a place in Nature where the mind and heart find rest, then you have discovered a sanctuary for your soul.
Perhaps Nature senses the longing that is in us, the restlessness that never lets us settle. She takes us into the tranquility of her stillness if we visit her. We slip into her quiet contemplation and inhabit for awhile the depth of her ancient belonging. Somehow we seem to become one with the rhythm of the universe. Our longing is purified, and we gain strength to come back into life refreshed and to refine our ways of belonging in the world. Nature calls us to tranquility and rhythm. When your heart is confused or heavy, a day outside in Nature's quiet eternity restores your lost tranquility."
~~~ Eternal Echoes
And why have I come to see this as so important? Read this. I think it describes perfectly the soul diminishing stuff people are up against everyday in modern culture:
Duncan Campbell: And so we really are in that mode. For instance, just this month (March 1999), Harvey Cox of the Harvard Divinity School wrote a brilliant article for the “Atlantic Monthly” about the Market, with a capital “M”, as “the new religion”. Many people don’t recognize it, but this is seen in the whole sense of the commodification of human experience, creating a certain kind of end of innocence that is taking the life from people rather than opening up deeper vistas….Instead of awakening people to the mystery, this “new religion of the Market” actually closes us down. It makes people more alienated. It makes them feel even more the hole in their soul, but not in an inspirational way. Instead of that yearning being directed to what you call “the sense of the great belonging”, the all embracing divinity that is ever present, it gets directed through the daily barrage of all-embracing advertising towards the market for Gap uniform-like clothing or to the local supermarket. It keeps our society functioning in a way, but it never ever gets satisfied, the desire for “more” continues, to try to fill that hole in the soul….