Archive for the ‘Environmental Attitude’ Tag

Standing At The Altar of Nature — Part II: Nature Attitude   4 comments

Sabino Canyon — Image by kenne

A short time after posting “Standing at the Altar of Nature,” I received an email from Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) member, Walt Tornow, saying that my poem  “. . . captures my feelings about being in the mountains beautifully.” Walt and I understand how really rich we are, being able to embrace the great American treasure possessed by every citizen of our country. Walt represents people who love nature, want to experience as much of it as possible, and want to preserve and  share it. His feelings are expressed in the following, which he shared in his email and gave permission to post. 


Finding God in the wilderness …

  • The majesty of our mountains, the magnificence of views/ vistas they afford, and the splendor and munificence of the many gifts that nature has to offer
  • The awe and humility that comes from being witness to the grandeur of it all, juxtaposed with realizing the relative smallness and fleetingness of  our existence
  • Never feeling or being alone … lots of company by nature’s creatures, and taking in the beauty of nature’s show
  • Feeling vunerable, yet trusting, being in the wilderness — potential prey to wildlife, and exposed to the elements
  • Experiencing awe, joy and inspiration, by being here
  • Feeling connected … becoming one with myself, with nature, and the universe
  • Finding peace, serenity, and sense of holiness … my place of worship and meditation


Here for the grace of God am I …

Grateful to be, to, be here, and be given the opportunity and capacity to enjoy the many gifts/ blessings around me.

— Walt Tornow

It’s common to find many in southeast Arizona who love the beautiful Sonoran Desert. Americans, in general, love their National Parks. But, as Nicholas D. Kristof shared in Sunday’s (9/11/11) NY Times op-ed piece, “The National Park Service reports that the number of recreational visits to our national parks was lower in 2010 than a decade earlier — lower even than in 1987 and 1988. There were 35 percent more backcountry campers in the national parks in 1979 than in 2010.”

The Outdoor Foundation concluded in a “special report on youth” that “Fewer and fewer youth are heading outdoors each year.” It added that “each year outdoorshood has rapidly moved indoors, leading to epidemic levels of childhood obesity and inactivity.”

Richard Louv, author of the bestselling book, Last Child in the Woodswrites of the staggering divide between children and the outdoors, which he calls, “nature-deficit.” 

“The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”—Richard Louv

This trend is sad, but the SCVN organization is doing something to turn the trend around. In the words of William Wordsworth, “Let Nature be your teacher,” the SCVN promotes awareness and appreciation of nature “through activities and programs for children and adults.” Nature “reminds us that we are part of a larger universe, stewards rather than masters of our world.”

In today’s world, a common thread is “stress.” The best break from stress is Nature, and as David Biello reports in Scientific American, “A growing body of research suggests nature walks may be more restorative than traditional stimulants like caffeine.” For me, I’ll take both! What is your Nature attitude?

The SCVN organization is one of the best examples of Margaret Mead’s belief that “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Again, I share the words of William Wordsworth on Nature:


These beauteous forms,

Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man’s eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and ‘mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration: — feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man’s life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened: — that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on, —
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.

— William Wordsworth, from the poem, “Tintern Abby” 


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