So in a way there is a correlate here to the intrinsic value of nature; Emerson says: Most often, it seems to me, we find these things to be beautiful not because of something else they might bring us – a piece of furniture, say, or a ‘delicacy’ to be consumed – but because of the way that the forms of these things immediately strike us upon observation.
In fact, one might even think that this experience of beauty is one of the bases for valuing nature – nature is valuable it is beautiful.
Nature can reveal its beauty in all places and at all times to the eye that knows how to look for it.
We can hear Emerson wrangle with himself on this very point in the words of this journal entry: At night I went out into the dark and saw a glimmering star and heard a frog, and Nature seemed to say, Well do not these suffice? Ponder it, Emerson, and not like the foolish world, hanker after thunders and multitudes and vast landscapes, the sea or Niagara. Emerson says that nature is beautiful because it is alive, moving, reproductive.
Although I’ve been advocating an approach to nature based on its intelligibility, we are far from tying down the giant that is nature with our minds.
Emerson writes that “the perception of the inexhaustibleness of nature is an immortal youth.” Although we shall continue to try to uncover nature’s secrets, let us also continue to take pleasure in our immediate encounter with her.
Let us continue to be awe-struck, like the child on the seashore, or clambering up a tree.
Let us hold onto that experience, and fight for the environment that makes it possible, both for the child in each of us, and for those that come after us.
One answer that Emerson offers is that “the simple perception of natural forms is a delight.” When we think of beauty in nature, we might most immediately think of things that dazzle the senses – the prominence of a mountain, the expanse of the sea, the unfolding of the life of a flower.
Often it is merely the perception of these things itself which gives us pleasure, and this emotional or affective response on our part seems to be crucial to our experience of beauty.