Manvotional: Albert Jeremiah Beveridge’s The Young Man and the World

by Brett & Kate McKay on September 27, 2008 · 5 comments

in A Man's Life, Manvotionals

Image by Softypapa

We’ve written before on the importance of spending time with Mother Nature. The modern man’s life with all it’s stress, expectations, and constraints can suffocate your man spirit and extinguish your vim and vigor. In this excerpt from Albert Jeremiah Beveridge’s The Young Man and the World, we’re reminded how Nature can help restore our physical and spiritual strength. With the weather cooling and the leaves turning, now is a great time to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors.

Spend some time with Nature, too. The people and Nature—they alone contain the elemental forces. They alone are unartificial, unexhausted. You will be surprised at the strength you will get from a day in the woods. I do not mean physical strength alone, but mental vigor and spiritual insight.

The old fable of Antæus is so true that it is almost literally true. Every time he touched the earth when thrown, that common mother of us all gave him new strength; and, rising, he came to the combat as fresh as when he began.

Learn to know the trees; make friends with them. I know that this counsel will appear far-fetched if you have never cultivated the companionship of the woods. But try it, and keep on trying it, and you will find that there is such a thing as making friends with the trees. They will come to have a sort of personality for you.

No doubt this is all in your mind. No matter, it is good for you. It makes you more natural; that means that you are more simple, kindly, and truthful. What is more soothing and restorative than to stand quite still in field or forest and listen to the thousand mingled sounds that make up that wondrous melody which Nature is always playing on the numberless strings of her golden harp. Learn the peace which that music brings to you.

In short, cultivate Nature, get close to Nature. Try to get Nature to give you what she has for you as earnestly as you try to get what you want in business; and your days and nights will be glorified with a beauty and strength the existence of which you would have denied before you experienced their blessings.

But, of course, you must work for the benefits you get from Nature, just as you must work for everything worth having. You cannot quit your office and say, “Now I shall take a ten-minutes’ walk in the park and commune with Nature.” Nature is not to be courted in any such way. She does not fling her favors at your feet—not until you have won her utterly. Then all of the wealth and power which Nature has for those who love her are yours in a profuse and exhaustless opulence.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andy September 28, 2008 at 4:25 am

I couldn’t agree more. The pull of nature on any man is too strong to stay away. My father was kind enough to let me grow up in the deep woods, and I know that I am better for it. As a result, I started The Center of Outdoor and Survival Skills here in Columbus, OH. I would recommend anyone who wants to get to know nature better to drop me a line. It is the greatest place on earth, but it can be dangerous if you go in half cocked. So start slow and don’t be afraid to read. There are some great resources available.

Great sight! Keep up the awesome work!

2 Peter James September 28, 2008 at 5:01 am

I think nature is a great way to clear the mind. It’s openness has a way of opening your mind up to possibilities it did not know existed.

3 Robert September 29, 2008 at 1:58 pm

I am an avid backpacker, and let me tell you, there is nothing that makes you feel more alive and more of a man than the great outdoors. Something about facing down a rattlesnake or having a bear sniff your tent will get you to really breathe and feel alive.

Though this post is more about the serenity of the forest, the counter point is just as important. Nature is a place, beautiful and dirty, clean and messy, ambered and bloody. It, like all things, requires our respect.

Sometimes, people think that the natural world is a bit better than the commercial civilization that most of America lives in. They do have some points, but I would much rather live here and visit the woods frequently, not the other way around.

Great post all in all, though I think that Edward Abbey puts it a bit better in his poem:

“Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am — the reluctant enthusiast… a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half for yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers,… breath deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stilness, that lovely mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will out live the bastards.”

4 Zac November 16, 2012 at 5:19 am

Where is the story of Antæus to be found? I’ve never heard of it, it sounds very interesting.

5 Zac November 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm

For anyone wondering, This is Antæus:
Antaeus. Thanks tkr.

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