The Bible speaks of things that are a ‘delight to the eye,’ a phrase that’s a good description of my experience of natural beauty. Yes, delight is in the mind’s eye and not the actual one. And yes, the first thing mentioned in the Bible utilizing that curious phrase was the description of the infamous forbidden fruit, not a great beginning for the idiom. But thankfully it’s uphill from there.
Nevertheless, the phrase effectively conveys the ethos of beauty, the privilege of seeing such splendor that it can almost ache. It is interesting to me that beauty can evoke such a sensation, not quite pain, but close, such loveliness that ‘it hurts.’ One lets out the same kind of “Oh…” as when they’ve just bitten their tongue! Only it doesn’t hurt like that, it’s delight… great word.
But sight is not the only sense that evokes delight in nature. Think of the delight of the other senses...
What about the touch of warm sand on just bared feet? Or the feel brushing your finger across a thistle bloom, perhaps a sensation made all the more wonderful by the thorny visual effect of the rest of the plant? What of a small child’s grasp of an adult thumb? Or of a presenting breeze on a sultry day?
What about the taste of a handful of plump, wild raspberries? Or a firm apple on a break from an uphill hike? What of the almost eye-popping sweetness of honey, or maple syrup, or beloved brother Greg’s blackberry jam? Or even of a simple hotdog cooked over a campfire?
Yes, natural delights are not to the eye only. I have often thought, with my love of nature, what a sadness it would be to lose my sight. But the more I think of it, the more I realize there would still be much to enjoy.
Sight, smell, touch. sound and taste?
…Jesus said, “Blessed are the eyes that see the things you see…” (Luke 10:23)
…We are a fragrance of Christ… (2 Corinthians 2:15)
Jesus said to Thomas, “Touch me… and believe.” (John 20:27)
They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze… (Genesis 3:8)
Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. (Psalm 34:8)
~~ RGM, from an earlier entry in my nature journal,
revised for my blog October 2 2015