Nature and the Soul

This is a translation of a scriptural meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”. Lewis connections follow:


“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near” (Matt: 24, 32)

“When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is” (Luk: 12, 54-55)


"Nature teaches us many things. It is a book always open before us, accessible to everyone who wants to learn from it. In the spring everything awakens, everything seems to breathe and come alive, and the joy of life involuntarily envelops us – our eyes rest on the wonderful sight, and everything in us seems to soften under the life-giving rays of the sun. But in ourselves, in our hearts, in our feelings, shouldn’t everything good awaken then with renewed force? In seeing these wonderful beauties of nature, spread out before us, shouldn’t our hearts become even warmer towards every need – shouldn’t the flow of our love burst forth unstoppably with even greater life?

"Do our thoughts then ascend to our Creator, do we feel a new swell of gratitude for everything that has been given to us, and a special need to open our soul in fervent prayer before Him?

"Fall and winter are often compared to old age; and sad thoughts involuntarily arise at the gloomy sight of dying nature. But if the sight of a denuded tree is gloomy, the blue sky is more visible through the dry branches. It is not only the happy and joyful things which fall away from us with the years – everything falls away. We no longer need the finery of youth, we are no longer concerned with everyday petty troubles and worries, the vanities of life do not attract us, and all the trifles that chain us to the earth fall off by themselves like dry leaves. It seems to become easier when, freed from everything superfluous, we can devote ourselves completely to our spiritual life.

“The tired traveler is not sad when he approaches the long-awaited goal; and why should we be sad when we also approach the goal, when we are at the doorstep of eternal bliss, still incomprehensible to us, when there sometimes comes upon us a premonition of that endless spring for which we will also be resurrected when we end our earthly existence!”

The Lewis “spring” connection that comes to mind is Aslan’s “singing” Narnia into existence in chapter 8 of “The Magician’s Nephew”, which begins this way:

“In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing…it seemed to come from all directions at once…Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful Digory could hardly bear it.”

And a “fall and winter” connection can be found in Lewis’s letter to Mary Shelburne of June 17, 1963:

“Pain is terrible, but surely you need not have fear as well? Can you not see death as the friend and deliverer? It means stripping off that body which is tormenting you: like taking off a hair- shirt or getting out of a dungeon. What is there to be afraid of? You have long attempted (and none of us does more) a Christian life. Your sins are confessed and absolved. Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.”


“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)