“Earth’s body, wonder of the principle of nature, and the call of that universal wonder is tangible in human flesh”

You are all fair, my companion and there is no flaw in you.

Nature’s yoke-fellow, closest companion of life, is all fair. Mine and not mine, nearest and farthest immediacy. Always resistant to being pinned down to what is fixed and stable. Nature is a sign of that which is in the process of becoming, a word that accompanies the mode. The mode is the principle of beauty, the shrill call of the longing for relation. The call is tangible, the relation intangible. A tangible distance and an intangible closeness, like the emerald clarity of the waterside, and the deep blue haze of the distance. An immediacy as ungraspable as the charm of a smile.

Earth’s body, wonder of the principle of nature, and the call of that universal wonder is tangible in human flesh. Verdant curves of the hills, rose petal-like delicacy of the contours of the flesh. Rhythmic winding of the shoreline, pencil-out-lined bays. Soft down on the skin of ripe fruit. The flowing movement of the toes in the walk of the young girl, the swishing of clear water, trickling over the sand. Her legs, turned in alabaster, rise up without end to be poured into the dense flesh of the lilies. Her breasts are the twin fawns of a gazelle, all the tenderness of flowers palpitates there and the pistils of her nipples offer intoxication. Her neck an upright stem, her hair a flock of goats moving down the slopes. Her smile a light at first dawn, her eyes a spring sky reflected in the limpid waters of a lake.

Intoxication of spring which makes the insects giddy in the calyxes of the flowers. Gusts of the north wind, soft breezes from the south in the drunken branches of the body. The song of the sea resonates in the pubescent youth of the innermost lilies. Nature in the tension of desire.

The nature of the world was a completed symphony, a universal reflection of the comprehensive drive of desire, the call to erotic immediacy. And the mode of nature was a principle embodied in the division of human beings into male and female. It was then “God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).

How can nature be “very good” when it includes the inevitability of death? But the same question applies to light: Does it include the inevitability of darkness, or is darkness only a denial, a voluntary hiding away from the life-giving shedding of light? Life is not played automatically on nature’s flute; death’s dirge can also be played. The use and the mode belong to the freedom of the flute player.

Nature, the erotic symphony of the prime composer, was and is a wonderful reverberation of life. A created symphony capable of echoing the mode of the uncreated, unlimited life. But also capable of responding musically to the mode of death, the finite self-sufficiency of the created.

The novelty that the Christian revelation communicates, that even the natural denial of the relation should be transformed into personal relation. The trophy of love. Letting death approach the call of life, but an erotic approach. “That which I have, I give it to you.” I have only death, the only thing that I possess existentially. And I offer this “with thanksgiving.” Thanksgiving exists for the call and it is why he who calls exists. For that which he is and that alone. Beloved and lover of my mortal erotic activity. His call immortalizes my personal response. So long as the lover calls, the beloved exists as one who reciprocates love. So long—in our unlimited present. The only dawn of presence is “he who raises the dead.” Only love begets the resurrection.

Nature demands salvation; love clads itself in reciprocity. So that the Lover should exist, the life-creating beckoning of beauty. The demand of nature denies relation; love transforms even the natural denial into personal self-offering. It accepts “with pleasure the humbling of its nature.” A pleasurable abandonment to the abundance of reciprocity.

Call of beauty, the elementary lessons of life in the language of thanksgiving. The call is not a phantasm. It is sown in nature’s flesh, in the desire that generates the abyss. A yearning for immortality and it mingles with the call of reciprocity, that love may be born. Only then is life changed from nature into relation.

Christos Yannaras

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1 Response to “Earth’s body, wonder of the principle of nature, and the call of that universal wonder is tangible in human flesh”

  1. Mike H says:

    How can nature be “very good” when it includes the inevitability of death?

    My how that question haunts me.


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