We bring our emotions to nature for many reasons which we consciously acknowledge: looking for beauty to balance pain; for neutrality of context to wrestle with problems, for soothing colours and sounds to alleviate weariness; for a change of scene to give a new perspective; for a situation which relaxes by demanding nothing. In identifying being in landscape as a kind of emotional mirror that offers a supportive reflection, we are not in danger of tumbling headlong into the bog of pathetic fallacy. There is no truer instinct than to respond to the fundamental connection between us and nature – the condition of being alive.
We’re not being taken out of ourselves, not operating as observer, admirer or physical activist, but participating in the greatest whole that exists. Nature is not an external entity. By placing our individual happiness, misery, grief and irresolution into a wider context, we are plugging into shared roots and deriving relief, succour or repose from universal energy. Our private energies are recharged by this merging of life and landscape. The fact is that when the heart is too full for talking to people, places can absorb our positive and negative emotions. Not transference, but osmosis, the flexing of membrane. When ties to other people and our local community fail us, nature offers a different kind of common bond. This one is constant.