By Monica Weis
Nature used to be continuously very important in Thomas Merton's existence, from the lengthy hours he spent as a toddler observing his father paint landscapes within the clean air, to his ultimate years of solitude within the hermitage at Our woman of Gethsemani, the place he meditated and wrote concerning the fantastic thing about his atmosphere. all through his lifestyles, Merton's learn of the wildlife formed his spirituality in profound methods, and he used to be one of many first writers to elevate main issue approximately ecological concerns that experience develop into severe in fresh years.In The Environmental imaginative and prescient of Thomas Merton, writer Monica Weis means that Merton's curiosity in nature, which constructed considerably in the course of his years on the Abbey of Gethsemani, laid the root for his turning out to be environmental attention. Tracing Merton's expertise of the wildlife from his formative years to the ultimate years of his lifestyles, Weis explores his deepening feel of position and wish for solitude, his love and accountability for all dwelling issues, and his evolving ecological understanding.
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Nature used to be regularly important in Thomas Merton's lifestyles, from the lengthy hours he spent as a baby observing his father paint landscapes within the clean air, to his ultimate years of solitude within the hermitage at Our woman of Gethsemani, the place he reflected and wrote concerning the great thing about his atmosphere. all through his existence, Merton's learn of the flora and fauna formed his spirituality in profound methods, and he was once one of many first writers to elevate crisis approximately ecological concerns that experience develop into serious in recent times.
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Extra resources for The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton (Culture of the Land)
Light and color, however, are not the only shaping influence on 29 The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton Young Tom. (Photo by Ruth Jenkins Merton) imagination. 21 Indeed, such budding coherence emerges in Ruth Merton’s record of little Tom’s interaction with his environment. ” And by the time he is eight months old, his mother records that whenever they went “on the bridge,” Tom “stood up in his p’ram, especially to see the river” (TB 30 Young Tom making a paper airplane, 1918. ). Having walked across this same bridge over the Têt River, I can readily understand why an infant—especially a precocious child like Tom, growing ever more alert to sounds, smells, and textures—would be fascinated by the river.
Merton, having gained a father figure in the abbot and a spiritual family in the Trappist community—poignantly missing from his early life— finds that roaming in the woods and the uncultivated land beyond the cloister creates yet another sacred place that enlarges his imagination, 46 Learning to See stretches his consciousness, and invites him into deeper awareness and contemplation.
And yet Merton paused to initiate a contact with Rachel Carson. Why might this be? What revelation of justice was tugging at Merton’s heart? A careful reading of Merton’s letter to Carson reveals several points of resonance with her, namely, her prophetic stance, her ability to view the significance of research on the macro scale of human decision making, and her belief in the interdependence of all creation. When Merton writes that Silent Spring is “perhaps much more timely even than you or I realize,” he is sensing in Carson a kindred spirit who is offering both information and insight on the cutting edge of an issue: information with far-reaching consequences, and profound insight into our responsibility for the Earth.