Is childhood a time where we are deeply connected to nature? Wordsworth reflects upon his childhood when his mind is so intertwined with nature that it is continuously in his thoughts.
After I had seen
That spectacle, for many days my brain
Worked with a dim and undetermined sense
Of unknown modes of being. In my thoughts
There was a darkness- call it solitude
Or blank desertion – no familiar shapes
Of hourly objects, images of trees,
Of sea or sky, no colours of green fields,
But huge and mighty forms that do not live
Like living men moved slowly through my mind
By day, and were the trouble of my dreams. (Wordsworth, 365)
Wordsworth’s thoughts were composed of emotions after seeing a huge cliff one evening, this was a connection that he had made with nature. This connection Wordsworth felt with nature was so strong that he had “trembling hands” (412) when he was leaving the sight of the cliff. Even after the sight of the cliff was over, he still had lingering feelings about the scenery. Wordsworth felt a sense of darkness and loneliness after simply seeing a huge cliff. His innocence in the lack of knowledge about the cliff gave him the motive to associate the “huge” cliff to “mighty forms that do not live like living men” (424-25) and these were the thoughts that appeared in his mind and even seemed to trouble him.
His childhood allowed him to see the cliff in a different light than when he was an adult due to the innocence that he possessed. He connected with nature in a way that only a child could experience because he was still young and pure. The cliff itself was not described into full details, but the passion that it evoked was the connection that the child had with nature. In the eyes of the child, nature provided him with thoughts that resounded even into his dreams.
The connection the young Wordsworth had with nature was that even after the sight of the cliff had passed, the thought and feelings he felt from nature was still constantly on his mind and affected his thinking.
The notion of childhood’s relationship with nature raises a question of whether it was only during the Romantic Period that childhood possessed that deep connection with nature or can we have such an intimate consciousness of nature in our present times as well?
Wordsworth, William. The 1805 Prelude Book First. Greenblatt, Stephen, gen. ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume D The Romantic Period 9th ed. 6 vols. New York: NY, 2012. Print.