04 July 2012

Shadow in Nature

There was a wonderful article written a month or so back on the prevalence of Pagans of various flavors to idealize nature as being benign, pure, and good (I cannot find it for the life of me, so if you can please put a link in the comments).  In reality, nature - I'm talking real nature, not your local park - is glorious but brutal.  Nature is not a wholesome sanctuary where we can retreat from our hectic lives to find peace and safety.  Nature is a place of harsh extremes, survival of the fittest, and literally awesome vistas.  There is no better place to explore the balance of light and shadow than in nature.

I spent today steeped in the extremes that nature offers us.  I went to Mount Saint Helens and hiked the South Coldwater Trail to Coldwater Saddle.  For those of you not familiar with this mountain, it blew up rather spectacularly in 1980.  The picture above was taken this afternoon and you can see the acres of trees that are still blasted to this day.  In a place like that you can see both unparalleled beauty and incredible harshness.

To have both the stunning views of Coldwater Lake and its surroundings and views of the twisted metal of construction equipment caught in the blast, Mt. St. Helens is a reminder that nature is not a happy shiny place where people can frolic in edenic bliss.  Nature is awesome and terrible.  She deserves our reverence and respect because she will give until it hurts and then, when we think we've got it all figured out, she'll whollup us but good.


  1. Is this the article you're looking for? http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/6807

  2. That would be the one, thanks!