Seeing Differently

SSJ Monica Weis

in The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780813130040
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135717 | DOI:
Seeing Differently

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This chapter explores the passages from Thomas Merton's journals, spanning several years, to give ongoing evidence of the multiple ways nature and ordinary experiences influenced his writing, thinking, and praying. Noting the increasing frequency of such passages reveals how nature images function in several specific ways: the poetic eye that sees and celebrates the uniqueness of creation; extended metaphors that probe and attempt to explain the conundrums of life; weather reports that offer insight into both external and internal atmospheres; and the frequent merging of inner and outer landscapes, landscapes that mediate and to some degree articulate Merton's ineffable experience of prayer. All these experiences of immersion in nature create the foundation for Merton's evolution toward a new level of responsibility for the welfare of nature and his development of an ecological consciousness. Each of these clusters or categories is specifically investigated.

Keywords: Thomas Merton; writing; thinking; praying; poetic eye; metaphors; weather reports; landscapes

Chapter.  9656 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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