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Tuesday, September 20, 2011



I've been wondering a bit lately about the word nature as it applies to our own individual natures and to what we call the natural world. I'm seeing that in this time when we have next to nothing to do with what wecall nature except out the window of the car when we're in the country. In the city, you have  some trees, some lawns, shrubbery, insects and sky. After half a year in Europe, when I came home I wanted to kiss the ground. At NY airport we walked through a tube to the airport, then through a tube to the next plane to Charleston. In Charleston the ground was paved where I got off the plane. Took a cab to town and when I got there, no ground. Brick sidewalk, only small flower beds. By then, the urge had passed. The only "nature" I'd experienced since leaving London was the air the plane was flying on.

Most of my purpose coming to the mountains was to be surrounded by nature all the time, live among trees and meadows, even some wild animals, wild meaning not domesticated. In other words, nature is wild. I can look at what we call our individual nature and our human nature. Dogs have dog nature that makes them act like dogs, and among the dogs there is individual nature, like among humans. I was about to say our individual nature is something like our personality, but the word personality has so much associated with it that is not natural. Remembering high school when conformity is at its highest, everyone was judged by personality. "He has such a good personality." Meaning he smiles a lot and talks upbeat all the time, nice. Fake in every way. Good personality means good conformist. That's not what I mean by nature. Like it's somebody's nature to have a short fuse. Or it's somebody's nature to want to be busy all the time, whatever the reasoning.

Personality we can shape at will, acting. Nature is what we can't change without a great deal of effort and then it doesn't work. A horoscope spells our an individual about the best of anything I can think of besides knowing somebody very well, like in marriage. Some people are compelled to talk a lot, some are not. Again, for whatever reasonings or justifications. I've especially been able to see someone's nature in people I know best. People we slightly know, we take things said and done as representative of the person's nature, whether they are or not. I know I've been read off center, especially when I use irony. Americans just don't get irony. Again, television that deals in the obvious. I figure when everybody is doing it, television is behind it. Like I look at all the young girls fashioning themselves after Britney Spears. I tell myself to stop making ironic comments, but sometimes they slip through. It took me years to learn to say Unsweet tea when ordering at a restaurant. Wanting to be clear, I'd say, "tea without sugar." The response every time was, "Unsweet?" Unswseet.

We adjust our personalities to circumstances, to what works best socially. Our nature doesn't change. It can be suppressed and it can be expressed. I see young people getting out in the world of jobs and responsibility, having to figure everything out for themselves the best they can. I know a few who are natured such that they can't keep a job very long without getting mad and quitting. That strikes me as nature more than personality. Personality is to act like I'm not like that. Political correctness bypasses nature. You're natured this way, but it's politically correct to do it that way, so again, nature is over-ruled. Our individual natures are over-ruled by wanting "to be like everybody else." Whatever that means, unless like television. I don't mean to complain about conformity, because it's how we live in a world with a lot of other people. We find avenues where we can over-ride nature and associate on the ground of understanding on another. We don't live in communities anymore. We live largely among people we only know superficially, or strangers, and we do need a common language. Television is the culture we all share.

Among the mountain people in the old days, people were known by their natures instead of their personalities. I'm suspecting it had something to do with living so closely with nature, the untamed world. They lived by the weather, working the land, sawmilling trees, making things of wood, like wagons, and leather, like shoes and saddles. Working in solitude on the farm and in community at harvest time. People of different natures respected each other's natures the same as they knew not to try to make water flow uphill. Someone's nature is who the person is. There is the man who will borrow something and return it in better condition than when he borrowed it. There is also the man who will return a lawnmower out of gas and out of oil. This is nature. The spiritual path works with one's nature, not one's personality. Say I have a short fuse and have hurt quite a lot of people with it in the past. On the path, one being self-aware will see that a short fuse is not practical. One will dive within and examine this short fuse and determine to be less hurtful with it. Be conscious with it. Not necessary to crush it down and pretend it's dead;you get the Edgar Allen Poe Fall Of The House   Of Usher going. Better to be conscious of one's own nature than to suppress it.

Our human nature is certainly a part of what we call nature, the natural world, the untamed, the wild. Living among a lot of people all the time we have to get along. Living in the light of God's love, we wouldn't need laws, but since we don't, we have so many laws regarding our human behavior we're locked down in a system where we break unenforced laws every day. The critters of the forest don't need laws. They had a good balance going until civilization came along and turned away from the natural world, the world of the untamed. The natural world is only resources, like calling a tree timber. I'm wondering if the closer we are to nature in the physical world determines how close we are to our own nature. Perhaps this has something to do with why I felt the need to get out of the city. I was seeing my own nature overridden and came to have no confidence in my own nature, whatever that was? I believe that the years of living on the edge of the woods, walking in the woods, living close to the weather, living in the seasons, living with the cycles, I've come closer to finding my own nature that was hidden under years of attention to personality. My nature is the same as in the city years, yet my personality is different. Maybe this is high-sounding palaver, but it feels more like a puzzle piece  that found its place.


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