In the spirit of spring, here are two vignettes about the Master and nature. The first takes place in the Swiss countryside and Juliet Thompson is its narrator:
We passed fertile hills, covered with vines and corn or fruit trees; we passed foaming mountain torrents; we passed little villages and always the background of these verdant scenes was the panorama of the lonely Alps, their heads wreathed with clouds. And nothing escaped his [sic] eyes. Never shall I forget his keen, sympathetic, eager, delighted observation, — his tender interest in all human traces — his joy in the beautiful. He particularly seemed to enjoy the gentle hillsides — the green — the signs of verdure (I think of his life spent in arid, stony Acca!). […] Once he broke a silence thus “There was no one in the world who loved trees and water and the country so much as Bahá’u’lláh!”
We were too moved to answer and again there was silence. And in that silence some realization came to me of the sacrifice of these Holy Ones, who accept with joy all privation, all suffering to lead us in the way of freedom […].
To turn to the day of our drive. We came to a great waterfall, — a sparkling, snowy torrent, dashing down a black precipice. He had us stop the carriage, and walking to a spot at a little distance from us, on the very edge of the embarkment, He watched for a long time in silence that immaculate outpouring. I can still see the figure of quiet power — the face of luminous purity — the Perfect Man— intent upon that manifestation of the power and purity of Nature.
Nature then had an added glory to me. I realized as never before her beauty and significance. […] I saw Nature not only as a book of divine allegories, but fascinating for her own sake — for the sake of her loveliness and her secrets, which in this day when “the earth is revealing her news” she is giving up ever more freely to man. Watching ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as He communed with the bounty of Nature, I felt deeply the spiritual value of the arts and sciences. And ever since that drive — that little journey through country and town with the one of the perfect understanding and sympathy, this world has been God’s world to me.
The setting of the second story is Dublin, New Hampshire where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in reference to the world of the spirit, stated that the inability to sense something is not proof that it does not exist. He pointed out that if this were the case then the cow would be the greatest philosopher. Mahmúd recounts:
This amusing statement that the cow is the greatest of all philosophers caused everyone to laugh. After the meeting, some men and women invited Him to go for a ride in their automobile. While driving, a herd of cows passed in front of the automobile and, becoming frightened, began to run about in every which way. The ladies in the car cried out, ‘Oh Master, see the crowd of philosophers. How frightened they are running away from us.’ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá laughed so heartily that He tired Himself.
Star of the West, Vol. 2, No. 14, p.10-13
Mahmúd’s Diary, p.193
Photo by Elliott Vreeland, www.flickr.com/evreelan