“The treasures within the earth were long hidden, and trees and forests were thought of as her ultimate gift to mankind. … Even images of shining gold and ivory are worshipped less by us than forests and their silence.” Natural History, Pliny
There is nothing like a forest. Especially in spring. Plant, animal and mineral meld seamlessly into a vibrant whole. How can we even begin to describe the confluence of factors that makes it so wonderful? Colors, textures, shapes, and smells. And sounds.
The best silence is not that of absence, but of presence. Somehow the sounds of the forest give emphasis to the silence, as though it were calling out, like a thrush in spring; to us.
One is struck by the emptiness, an emptiness of all that is not real, not natural, not belonging. Here I can just be, and be filled by that emptiness. Somehow I too belong, even while being an interloper of sorts.
A forest is not the ultimate gift, nor is it a proper object of worship. But it is indeed a gift: one much more precious than gold. And perhaps those who worshiped forests and their silence had glimpsed something, something we too often miss.
Would that we could learn how to see, and to hear. That silence. Especially in spring.
Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) was a Roman naturalist and general. His Natural History is an important early work in natural science.
Image: the woods behind my home this morning.
Ischomachus’s wife: “My mother told me that my job was to be responsible.” Ischomachus: “My father gave me the same advice.” Xenophon, The Estate Manager One casualty of the decline of the household is that men and women don’t see their role in it as central to their...
“To husband is to use with care, to keep, to save, to make last, to conserve.” Wendell Berry, The Way of Ignorance In this post I want briefly to examine the meaning of stewardship. In two following posts I will examine more specifically how stewardship pertains to...
“How one should order one's own affairs is not clear and needs inquiry.” Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics I am happy to announce today significant new offerings at this website. Bacon from Acorns has been my effort to share what I am blessed to call my...
Husband, father, and professor of Philosophy. LifeCraft springs from one conviction: there is an ancient wisdom about how to live the good life in our homes, with our families; and it is worth our time to hearken to it. Let’s rediscover it together. Learn more.