By Brian Liu
We treat reading at St. John’s College as a sort of exploration. And perhaps, because of my particular time of life, I found myself wanting to explore in ways other than reading during my spring break.
A senior classmate and I decided to hike the Appalachian trail in Maryland. We started from Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia and hiked upwards towards the Pennsylvania-Maryland line. In the eyes of the sane, it was probably an unreasonable and silly endeavor. The cold conditions, as well as the ice and snow made it a difficult journey. But, oh, how my adventure needs were met!
There is a sort of sweet fulfillment that comes from not only exerting oneself intellectually, but also physically. Exertion is about being whole and I cannot find a better place to do that than in nature.
After the hike, I found myself reading “The Weight of Glory” by C.S Lewis, and he had this to say about nature and our exertion:
“When human souls have become as perfect in voluntary obedience as the inanimate creation is in its lifeless obedience, then they will put on its glory, or rather that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch. For you must not think that I am putting forward any heathen fancy of being absorbed into Nature. Nature is mortal; we shall outlive her. When all the suns and nebulae have passed away, each one of you will still be alive. Nature is only the image, the symbol; but it is the symbol Scripture invites me to use. We are summoned to pass through Nature, beyond her, into that splendor which she fitfully reflects.”