Can our Interaction With the Natural World Influence How We Live?

Topics: Annie Dillard

Most people would agree that today’s culture is disconnected with nature; however, they may not realize the value it has in living a purposeful life. In the essay, “Living like a Weasel” by Annie Dillard, discusses how her encounter with a weasel developed a deeper self-understanding. James Wright’s poetry, “A Blessing,” describes his emotional contact with nonhuman otherness. When examining the Author’s writings, we should connect to the natural world because it cultivates unity between humans and nature, appreciation of beauty by living in the moment and a deeper meaning to human existence.

One of the ways the environment influences humans is the aesthetic appeal. James Wright, in “A Blessing,” states “We step over the barbed wire into the pasture.

Where they have been grazing all day, alone”. Despite being physically separated by the wire, Wright’s emotional connection made him feel part of the environment and not different from it. Therefore, stepping over the wire connected him physically.

Additionally, Annie Dillard, in “Living Like Weasels, states, ” … across the highway, is Hollins Pond, a remarkable piece of shallowness,”. Dillard continues describing in detail the ponds natural objects and contradicting seasonal appearance, including human-made features and its impact. Dillard’s view emphasizes being inspired by the meek. Her attention to shallowness in nature conflicts with the dynamic world she lives in, as a result, leads her to reflect on her human existence. As shown above, nature is comprised of an overwhelmingly amount of unique components that affect how we perceive them.

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As a result, both authors demonstrated how detaching from civilization and emerging into the natural environment enhanced their connection to nature.

Our interactions with nature help us appreciate living in the present. “I could very calmly go wild,” stated Annie Dillard, in “Living Like Weasels,” claiming it would take her “…back to your careless sense”. For a moment, Dillard and the weasel’s mind unified, thus allowing her to see herself more transparently. Seeing her true self allowed her to make sense of the world and see what truly makes her happy. The only way to find our happiness in the world is to get to know our true selves. James Wright, in “A Blessing,” experienced a deep awareness of nature when approached by ponies, stating ”they can hardly contain their happiness that we have come”. Wright shows that connecting to nature frees your mind to live in the present and appreciate what is around you. As can be seen, interacting with nature helps us reflect on our inner self, thus an appreciation of the natural world.

Living a life of purpose and harmony can be connected to our engagement with nature. Annie Dillard, in “Living Like Weasels,” insists, “Yielding not Fighting”, for not being afraid to pursue our purpose in life. Dillard concluded, “grasp your one necessity and not let it go”, In order to focus on what is truly important. We as a society focus on our future goals and often overlook enjoying life’s journey. James Wright, in “A Blessing,” describes his emotions with a pony, “I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms”, “The light breeze moves me to caress her long ear,”. Wright developed an emotional bond with the pony similar to those we have with humans. He further illustrates this point by describing his touch as, “delicate as the skin over a girls wrist,” revealing the emotional dimensions of love that can be experienced.

The author’s exhibit how nature can influence our perspective of life, furthermore, how we choose to live in the future. With the help of Annie Dillard essay “Living Like Weasels’ and James Wright poem “A Blessing” respectively, provides a strong parallel between our relationship with nature and how we choose to live our lives. Engaging nature affects how we think about ourselves and how we interact with the world around us. It can also teach us to value the important things in our lives and the balance between the necessities of life and planning for the future. Our environment has given us a lot of things, and in return, we need to take care of our environment and protect it.

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Can our Interaction With the Natural World Influence How We Live?. (2022, Mar 05). Retrieved from

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