Once, in one of the first few poetry classes the teacher whom I have great admiration for, asked the class, “What is your reaction towards nature? Is your mood reflected on the sky and trees when you look at them? When you are sad, does looking at nature make you see the entire atmosphere as gloomy and sorrowful as well (a mirror of the state of your souls)?” Almost everyone put their hands up. And then he asked, “And for the rest of you, looking at nature when you are sad, does it lift your spirits up?” I was the only one who had raised my hand.
He didn’t agree with me. The class unanimously agreed that it was ridiculous that your surroundings can make you feel happy when you are not. We were discussing Wordsworth’s I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud poem and he was criticizing the daffodil generation- those who think and write like the romantic poets- flowery and unnaturally “in love with nature” -types , though I am not from among those and never was a dreamy poet. I don’t sleep with flowers under my pillow or have far-fetched ideas about a secret lover. But I am in love with nature with good reason. And that daffodil poem is brilliant.
Looking at birds and frowning in inevitable curiosity at how their wings hold them in their flight, staring in awe at the beauty of the veins of leaves that crunch under my weight, the comforting breeze that hug my aching heart, the vibrant flowers that intimidate the bleakness of my thoughts, all of that.. Just simply holding them with my gaze puts me at ease. Maybe the word should be ‘shame’, because how dare I think my problems more significant than the magnificence of the ocean and the horizon? Even after I’ve had a rough day, it is simply MOUSTAHEEL, IMPOSSIBLE, *not* to have a change in moods when you are face to face with His signs. It’s inevitable to feel small and insignificant. To not feel sad again. To laugh off your sadness. To smile a (sad) smile inside.
For me, my atmosphere isn’t reflective of my moods. Ever. I mean, I’m not that great or influential. (Leaves don’t wilt because I’m sad, the sun doesn’t set when I am crying, the moon doesn’t sing me to sleep, the sky doesn’t pour when I am depressed…) It is I who is influenced easily by my atmosphere. It is impossible to be sadder than I already am when I’m facing the beach for the sea is both beautiful and terrifying. It is impossible to stay angry when I’m looking at the sky. It is majestic while I am not. And I’d really feel silly pulling a sour face at something more graceful than myself.
And lastly, besides the fact that I can’t help admiring the beauty of nature, I cannot rest my tired eyes on them without thanking the Ultimate Comforter.. God, the Great Artist, the Designer of all things beautiful.
I knew the feeling all along but it took me a whole semester to write them down. Forgive me for not being able to answer you immediately, and for not being able to defend my feelings at the moment when you asked, as they were emotions that I never thought needed any explanation. I guess that’s why I write, to understand myself better. So to my lecturer whom I agree with in almost every other topic, I must say I disagree with you on this. I know it’s not much, but would these words help?