An interesting article is brought to my attention by Carla Rosseels: “Splendid visions. A meditation on the childhood sublime” from William Geraldi (Children and nature – March / April 2013). Carla wrote: “A very long, but truly interesting text about nature versus city or ‘the paradox of places’ and whether or not they are reconcilable in the art of paradoxical life.”

The ‘dilemma’ between nature and city, between wilderness and civilization is very recognizable, especially in a small and crammed country like Belgium or The Netherlands. At first I got the impression that the writer was heavily tempted to ‘either-or’ thinking, for instance when he writes: “You can’t have it both ways, certainly not when you earn an average income” and “On this side is city life, on that side nature. You must choose.” In my opinion such a point of view always leads to a sense of disappointment and loss about those things you don’t have (and therefore the romantic idealization of it). However, at the very end of the article he comes to an ‘and-and’ conclusion and points out that the aim is to have access to your inner wild nature, even if you’re stuck in a stuffy office all day. I do share this conclusion wholeheartedly. Although I would have spent more time in the article exploring ways to combine these opposites in new ways rather than paying so much attention to stressing the unbridgeable distance between “a world gone mad and bursting at the seams” (busy busy busy, concrete and squeaky electronics everywhere) and the “paradise of an unspoiled Arcadia where you can walk in the woods as a wild Pan”.


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