That Rose Porter! She is an insistent, persistent soul!
Just when I was convinced that I had collated all her best Ruskin quotes about flowers in our last post, she presented me with another. In its few sentences, Mr. Ruskin, in yet another excerpt from the third volume of Modern Painters, puts in proper frame how our modern, distanced sensibilities cause us to miss the living essence of things which are not ourselves. (Alas today, even the cloudy throne he mentions having evaporated, many of us are considerably more distanced than he imagined!)
To my mind, these words create a perfect coda to our last post (#151). in which guise they require no further remark from me.
With us, observe, the idea of the Divinity is apt to get separated from the life of nature and, imagining our God upon a cloudy throne far above the earth, and not in the flowers or waters, we appraoch those visible things with a theory that they are dead–governed by physical laws, and so forth.
But coming to them, we find the theory fails; find that they are not dead; that, say what we will about them, the…sense of their being alive is too strong for us and, in scorn of all physical law, the wilful fountain sings, and the kindly flowers rejoice!
And then, puzzled and yet happy, pleased and yet ashamed of being so, accepting sympathy from nature (which we do not believe it gives) and giving sympathy to nature (which we do not believe it receives), mixing besides all manner of purposeful play and conceit with these involuntary fellowships, we fall necessarily into the curious web of hesitating sentiment…and wandering fancy which form a great part of our modern view of nature.
Great thanks again to our insistent, persistent Rose!
Do continue to be well out there!
Until next time.