Лев Никола́евич Толсто́й

readerA Man seated reading at a Table in a Lofty Room
Rembrandt or follower,  about 1628 – 30

 

One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken

Count Lev Nikolayevitch Tolstoy (9 September [O.S. 28 August] 1828 – 20 November [O.S. 7 November] 1910]

 

 

Adam Names the Animals In the Garden of Eden

adam naming animals in garden - saveryRoelandt Savery  (1576 – 1639)

Nature, in its ministry to man, is not only the material, but is also the process and the result. All the parts incessantly work into each other’s hands for the profit of man. The wind sows the seed; the sun evaporates the sea; the wind blows the vapor to the field; the ice, on the other side of the planet, condenses rain on this; the rain feeds the plant; the plant feeds the animal; and thus the endless circulations of the divine charity nourish man —
. . . .  that spirit, that is, the Supreme Being, does not build up nature around us, but puts it forth through us —-

Ralph Waldo 
Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) 

 

The American frontier

CapturePisanello (c. 1395 – c. 1455)

The concept of conservation is a far truer sign of civilization than that spoliation of a continent which we once confused with progress.
Wildlife in America

We have outsmarted ourselves, like greedy monkeys, and now we are full of dread.
The Snow Leopard

Wild northern Alaska is one of the last places on earth where a human being can kneel down and drink from a wild stream without being measurably more poisoned or polluted than before; its heart and essence is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge  in the remote northeast corner of the state, the earth’s last sanctuary of the great Ice Age fauna that includes all three North American bears, gray wolves and wolverines, musk ox, moose, and, in the summer, the Porcupine River herd of caribou, 120,000 strong. Everywhere fly sandhill cranes and seabirds, myriad waterfowl and shorebirds, eagles, hawks, owls, shrikes and larks and longspurs, as well as a sprinkling of far-flung birds that migrate to the Arctic slope to breed and nest from every continent on earth. Yet we Americans, its caretakers, are still debating whether or not to destroy this precious place by turning it over to the oil industry for development.
The New York Review of Books, October 19, 2006  

There’s an elegiac quality in watching American wilderness go, because it’s our own myth, , that’s deteriorating before our eyes. I feel a deep sorrow that my kids will never get to see what I’ve seen, and their kids will see nothing; there’s a deep sadness whenever I look at nature now.
Wildlife in America


Peter Matthiessen
(May 22, 1927 – April 5, 2014)

The Number of Fools is Infinite

Oronce Finé (20 December 1494 – 8 August 1555)The World In The Head Of A Fool
Oronce Finé (20 December 1494 – 8 August 1555)

“The Guardian” writers make new year wishes.
:   

Nature is uplifting and exhilarating, and yet writing about it is often a gloomy business of confronting the ways in which we are consuming and despoiling it. Each year brings small spits in the wind – a clean energy advance here, a new nature reserve there – but these gobbets of good news are blown away by the logic of global capitalism: nature is a finite public resource to be annexed by private individuals for short-term profit.

After a 2013 of  species loss and ever-rising exploitation, a realist might wish for 2014 to be a bit less bad. But I would love to see just one glorious occasion where people choose nature over profit – a piece of ground not fracked, a runway not built, a badger not culled. A few such exercises of gentle restraint and voices in mainstream politics and the media may belatedly begin questioning our society’s crazy fixation on economic growth as the source of all wellbeing and happiness. Reframing this miserable, myopic vision is too much to ask for 2014. It’s probably too much to ask for 2041. But it’s never too early to start trying.

Patrick Barkham is a natural history writer for the Guardian and former feature writer. He has also worked for The Times. He is the author of The Butterfly Isles – A Summer in Search of Our Emperors and Admirals and Badgerlands.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/31/whats-your-wish-for-2014

Forest Die-Off Detail

Lucas Cranach the Elder (Lucas Cranach der Ältere, c. 1472 – 16 October 1553), Lucas Cranach the Elder (c. 1472 – 16 October 1553)

The Secret Gardener

Just as language has no longer anything in common with the thing it names, so the movements of most of the people who live in cities have lost their connexion with the earth; they hang, as it were, in the air, hover in all directions, and find no place where they can settle.

Rainer Maria Rilke  (1875 –  1926)

A Kingfisher On A Branch

Jacques le Moyne de Morgues (c. 1533–1588)

 

We don’t need to eat anyone who would run, swim, or fly away from us if he could.

~James Cromwell

 

“We cannot command Nature except by obeying her.” Francis Bacon, 1620

The last dusky seaside sparrow

Extraordinary photographer, Joel Sartore: http://www.joelsartore.com/http://vimeo.com/8426920

Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
Atoms or systems into ruin hurled,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.

Alexander Pope, Essay on Man

Animalia Aqvatilia et Cochiliata

Joris Hoefnagel (1542 – 1600)

The Snayl

Wise emblem of our politick world,
Sage Snayl, within thine own self curl’d,
Instruct me softly to make hast,
Whilst these my feet go slowly fast.

Compendious Snayl! thou seem’st to me
Large Euclid’s strict epitome;
And in each diagram dost fling
Thee from the point unto the ring.
A figure now trianglare,
An oval now, and now a square,
And then a serpentine, dost crawl,
Now a straight line, now crook’d, now all.

Preventing rival of the day,
Th’ art up and openest thy ray;
And ere the morn cradles the moon,
Th’ art broke into a beauteous noon.
Then, when the Sun sups in the deep,
Thy silver horns e’re Cinthia’s peep;
And thou, from thine own liquid bed,
New Phoebus, heav’st thy pleasant head.

Who shall a name for thee create,
Deep riddle of mysterious state?
Bold Nature, that gives common birth
To all products of seas and earth,
Of thee, as earth-quakes, is afraid,
Nor will thy dire deliv’ry aid.

Thou, thine own daughter, then, and sire,
That son and mother art intire,
That big still with thy self dost go,
And liv’st an aged embrio;
That like the cubbs of India,
Thou from thy self a while dost play;
But frighted with a dog or gun,
In thine own belly thou dost run,
And as thy house was thine own womb,
So thine own womb concludes thy tomb.

But now I must (analys’d king)
Thy oeconomick virtues sing;
Thou great stay’d husband still within,
Thou thee that’s thine dost discipline;
And when thou art to progress bent,
Thou mov’st thy self and tenement,
As warlike Scythians travayl’d, you
Remove your men and city too;
Then, after a sad dearth and rain,
Thou scatterest thy silver train;
And when the trees grow nak’d and old,
Thou cloathest them with cloth of gold,
Which from thy bowels thou dost spin,
And draw from the rich mines within.

Now hast thou chang’d thee, saint, and made
Thy self a fane that’s cupula’d;
And in thy wreathed cloister thou
Walkest thine own gray fryer too;
Strickt and lock’d up, th’art hood all ore,
And ne’r eliminat’st thy dore.
On sallads thou dost feed severe,
And ‘stead of beads thou drop’st a tear,
And when to rest each calls the bell,
Thou sleep’st within thy marble cell,
Where, in dark contemplation plac’d,
The sweets of Nature thou dost tast,
Who now with time thy days resolve,
And in a jelly thee dissolve,
Like a shot star, which doth repair
Upward, and rarifie the air.

Richard Lovelace (1618–1657)