Nature’s Healing

Buttermere Lake, with Part of Cromackwater, Cumberland, a Shower exhibited 1798 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Joseph William Turner’s painting made me think about Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Nightingale.” Though the majority of the painting is dark, the light that is coming through goes along with the poem. The poem, although it talks about the melancholy stereotype of nightingales, the speaker claims that nightingales bring light if one allows them to. Just like the Romantic period, the speaker of the poem and the painting itself embraces the beauty of nature. In the poem, the speaker declares that many people claim that the songs of nightingales are melancholy. The speaker goes on to say that instead of projecting one’s sadness onto nature, one can see the beauty in it, but only with a clear mind. I agree with the speaker of the poem because of personal experience. Sometimes, when I’m upset, I like to be alone and though I find myself in the presence of nature, I tend to overlook it. The speaker is implying that if one takes the time to observe nature and forget about life’s hardships and worries just for a while, nature has the ability to heal. Another implication that the speaker makes is that we often forget about nature. We allow life to take over and therefore, look and walk past the beauty that surrounds us. Why do we allow for life to take over? The speaker of the poem believes that it is because we do not take the time to be alone and simply take in the beauty of nature, but it is also because we take it for granted. We think that the trees and lakes we have always passed by as a child will still be there when we are adults, but more often than not, these childhood trees and lakes have long been replaced with buildings. It is not until we realize what is gone that we begin to realize we should have taken the time to slow down, stop by, or simply reflect.

Charise Cating

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