“Our relation to nature is the correlate of our relation to ourselves.”
(from “Toward a Philosophy of Nature,” by Robert P. Harrison)
What makes me think of that is this,
the ruins of the old nightclub Faces, seen here across the back parking lot, from the wetland where the old channel of the Little River once ran. There are the ruins, with smashed records and random debris inside, and tables still upright, and chandeliers and a disco ball, and a mural of some vaguely Gauguin-like tropics with a waterfall cascading into a rippling pool. (You can see it all at this link.)
And in the other direction, away from Faces and Rt. 2, from more or less the same spot, on May 13, 2008, is this:
It seems as though almost no one registers the existence of this beautiful open secret. Nature is hidden in plain sight, ignored. Those who drive by can’t see it from Rt. 2; if they notice anything, it’s the crumbling and graceless building and its pointless sign, FACES in giant capitals, signifying nothing. If that’s our usual relation to nature on this spot, what then is the correlate, our relation to ourselves? Distracted, blocked, we hurry past ourselves not noticing what we are.
Faces as it was, when it functioned, was there for that purpose, too, wasn’t it? To distract people from themselves?
And yet — it’s possible that our ignoring this area, thinking of it as invisible and worthless, has also helped it. Space and time were left for water, plants, creatures, and weather to do their thing. To some extent humans made this area what it is, by digging the current channel of the Little River and draining the marshes in a different way, but that was almost a century ago. Then what? Did someone design this landscape, or did it think itself up?
And could it be that in ignoring ourselves we have left room for something to develop, which one day we will be glad to notice?