Nature’s Lingering Beauty
February 3, 2015
As advocates of conservation we seek to inspire compassion for nature. If you ever start to forget why we stand up for the environment, take a look at trees through the eyes of a poet.
In “Mulberry” the poet, Craig Arnold, speaks to his grandmother’s mulberry tree from his window. He reminisces on the life of the tree before him and its life after him— from being planted as a seedling, to its wrinkled bark. What are humans like to a tree, he wonders. The poet suggests they have wisdom in their age, and we are nothing but moths.
Denise Levertov’s “California: Morning, Evening, Late January” visualizes “destructive construction” as it take over wilderness. But even after mowers and helicopters spray pesticides, nature triumphs high above the resultant city: the sky.
Why these two? They’re about people harming nature—but in both, nature overcomes and is still there for the speaker to appreciate and to mourn for it. In the beginning, these speakers establish their admiration for nature, and in the end, they are bewailing its destruction.
Here is the power of coming to love nature beyond our own time on Earth. If we can get people to love nature as the speakers in these poems do, maybe one day we will have a society that thinks before it destroys.
Kimberly Choi, Intern.