Topophilia – Love of Place

I have thought a lot about the word ‘enchanted’ lately.  I helped begin (ready?) The Environmental  Schrader Center of Oglebay’s first environmental book club and we have been meeting with a new book every month since last January 2009.  We are now reading ‘A Reenchanted World: The Quest for a New  Kinship with Nature by James Gibson.

I have read the first two parts of the three-part book and am looking forward to reading the third section which is titled ‘Hope Renewed.’

In a one-sentence description the book is about awakening the reader to review their life, the times they have lived, been in awe, awakened by beauty and thankfulness.  Giving such accounts from astronauts watching the earthrise from behind the moon, or ‘looking back on the earth, an image of self-reflection or an out-of-body experience.’
The book has made me compare my own times of enchantment, sleeping by the ocean, lulled to sleep by the ocean waves, the trance of nature held out to me by the forest, the rest of thought abandoning me completely, the fluid movement of tuned sound within the leaves, branches and bird calls.  The time above Portland in the Rose Gardens, free to wanderers, the roses sweet smelling like bath soap and cleanliness.  Crossing the Ohio River on foot, over the suspension bridge, exhilarating as the current below me swept away.
Chapters of ‘..the Greening of Religion’ and ‘The Right-Wing War…’ bring up churned feelings of holy land versus our belief of religious values.  I think the argument is fundamentally a literal interpretation of the bible, that the earth is for human domain and that the only sacred thing to be considered is God.  But, what about respect in what God made?  I do not think of nature as an idol, but as a way of reminding myself of the reverence, holiness and comfort that faith can give someone.  In the solitude of nature I feel my relationship to a greater world shall not impede on another’s life, and so my commitment to nature and the preservation of it serves as the basic understanding of the famous Golden Rule ‘Do unto others as you will have them do unto you .’

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