Nature is a Temple

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The Story

La Nature est un temple où de vivants piliers Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles; L'homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles Qui l'observent avec des regards familiers*

Nature is a temple in which living pillars Sometimes give voice to vague murmurs: Man passes there through forests of symbols Which watch him with understanding eyes

I grew up in a house filled with great literary works and discussions about them. My father was an actor who founded a company that recorded poets and authors reading their works; my mother had a PhD in Comparative literature at Columbia University. They inhabited a world in which literary fantasy was a living, breathing thing.

When I read this poem, I hear the music of rushing leaves and remember the magic that was alive to me in my childhood. For me, it seems natural that the words of Baudelaire’s poem should be interspersed among the branches of this forest, full with the palette of autumn, for it speaks of the transports of the senses and the soul. Multi-sensory experiences (especially those of children) - the soft shake of the tambourine, the smell of fresh earth, the caress of a warm breeze - are richest. I believe that art, as well as nature, allows us, like the woman in this forest, to rise above our mundane lives in an experience that is both fully sensory and spiritually uplifting.

*from “Correspondances” by Charles Baudelaire