Alone, but with Unbated Zeal
I am thrilled to present "Speculative Fiction"/Mythology/Fantasy author David Berger's message on how connecting to creation inspires renewed energy to "forge ahead" in pursuits of creativity, challenges, and opportunity. When I read the descriptions of his settings in his work, I knew he had to be connected to creation. I was right there with him and his characters. Here's a journey into this amazing author's world. Yes, it begins right here on Earth, right near home. One does not have to go far to make those essential earth connections. Enjoy!
Alone, but with Unabated Zeal
by David Berger
In the ancient world, the elemental powers of nature held sway over people who, in turn, revered the skies, the winds, the oceans, and especially the earth itself. Civilization at that time connected to creation through gods like Zeus, Poseidon, and Gaea, and these embodiments of power have become legendary to us in the modern world, a world that doesn’t seem to need to connect to nature as it used to.
Wordsworth offers commentary to this effect in his poem, “The World is Too Much With Us”:
The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;— Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon; The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers; For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
As far back as the early 1800s, he comments that “Little we see in nature that is ours;/We have given our hearts away” and the sea and wind “[move] us not.” Unfortunately, this theme carries forward to today as well. So few people I know actually take time to commune with nature and its power. They do commune with technology, though. I actually stand in awe of the spectacle that is a sunrise or sunset, with its resplendent hues that blend like a celestial watercolor. I bow my head at the stony desert landscape of Zion National Park or genuflect at the rusty oranges and saffron yellows of autumn leaves when they hold court in abundance.
So, too, do I find solace in another natural spot, one closer to where I live. I connect to creation at Crews Lake Park, located off Shady Hills Road in Spring Hill, FL. Off a windy road that moves through a canopy of leaves, I arrive at a parking area near the lake itself. From the moment I get out of my car, I know I am on what I would consider holy ground. A shorter path through a wooded area opens up to a monument to tranquility. Atop this wooden tower, I inhale not only the air but also the entire scene. I can feel it in my lungs, my blood, and my spirit.
When the air is chill, in fall or winter, and the breeze blows, it’s as if I am face to face with the creative spirit: some might say G-d, others simply refer to it as Mother Nature. Nevertheless, it is a metaphysical moment. My inhales deepen. My exhales linger. With any luck, I see birds taking command of their element, speaking their own language, and I feel as if I have trespassed on a sacred moment. It truly is humbling.
I usually stay from a half hour to two hours, depending on my need. It never ceases to amaze me what I think about when I am “plugged in” to the world around me. I can let down all the walls, all the self-imposed limits. Tears have fallen as well. It’s as if I am free of all earthly bonds and can release my spirit. I experience a level of intimacy that I cannot have when I am indoors, even in the comfort of my own home. For what it’s worth, the sightseeing pier that extends into Crews Lake affords me the same experience, just closer to the water. From that vantage, the lily pads and flowers attend me, much like my own sages, to offer wisdom. In this place, the core elements resonate with me: the water of the lake, the air all around, the earth beneath my feet, the fire within me, and my spirit. When all five come together, something unlocks inside me, and I experience something akin to magic.
While the fires of inspiration burn brighter and stronger, the warmth spreading through me, I take advantage and go create. I find that with Nature as my Muse, I cannot fail. Anything I decide to do has a better purpose, more intent, and even a more likely outcome. Whatever happens as a result of creative energy is a step in the right direction—even if it’s not what I expected. I learn from it. I adapt. I re-imagine. Then, I pull from that well of energy and try again.
As the title of this post signifies, I am, according to Sir Walter Scott, “alone, but with unbated zeal.” I stand by myself at the shores of the lake where my Lady of the Lake—Opportunity—bridges me to creation, and as King Arthur of old, I take my sharpened enthusiasm and press on to explore those vast lands of unexplored territory.
This is where I forge ahead, questing after that which challenges me most.
David Berger teaches his literature students how to use their active minds while avoiding passive voice when he isn’t pondering other worlds, gods, and monsters. His influences ranging from Wordsworth to Wonder Woman, David plots his own epic journeys into worlds unknown and unseen. Land O’ Lakes, FL is where he resides, but he lives in his imagination.