Out in the Open by Jeremy Henzell-Thomas

I need to begin with a confession and clear statement of intent. I'd like to write about nature not from a distance, neither as an object of abstract study - a disengaged academic or critical exercise - nor as an occasion for the recital of well-worn platitudes or pieties gleaned from religious texts, but as a practitioner and passionate advocate who has spent a lifetime immersed in nature of one form or another. I don't think that people are necessarily inspired to change their lives, break down barriers, activate and develop the full range of their faculties, or contribute in any active way to the hugely important enterprise of protecting the planet from environmental devastation, by being given religious texts, whether from the Qur'an, the Bible, the Torah, the Vedas, the Sutras, or any other, especially when those texts are not actually lived in any deeply experiential sense by those who repeat them for the edification of others.

For this reason, there is so much in this issue that speaks of direct engagement with nature and authentic first-hand experience of the natural environment in its manifold living forms and landscapes. It can be seen through the creative imagination (in its deepest spiritual sense) of the metaphysician or mystic who can 'read' the rich tapestry of nature as the 'displayed book' of beautiful and majestic 'signs' that give overwhelming evidence of the existence and beneficient purpose of the Creator.