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Imagination and Nature

After reading Addison’s essay I was inspired. The way he described imagination was a way that I hadn’t heard it described before, particularly in the highlighted quote “A man in a Dungeon is capable of entertaining himself with Scenes and Landskips more beautiful than any that can be found in any Compass of Nature.” (2). I feel like a lot of people (especially those in a dungeon or prison) would read this and call it complete bullshit. However I can see where Addison is coming from. Before coming to school here, I lived in Illinois which is surprisingly not known for mountains. I had never gone further west than the Mississippi River and had never seen a true mountain. That didn’t mean that I couldn’t picture one in my head. Who’s to say that my creation in my head wasn’t as real as the mountains outside my windows as I write this post? It is currently snowing outside, but in my head the sun is setting creating a whirlwind of oranges, reds, pinks and yellows. Whose mountains are more beautiful now?

Maybe that was a poor example, but I feel like the power of imagination is really underestimated by much of our society. That could be because any image we want is now just a click away. This is unfortunately true. But what is great about the human imagination can be seen in the short passage preempting Addison’s writings: “I travel unpathed haunts of the Pierides/Trodden by step of none before. I joy/To come on undefiled fountains there,/to drain them deep.” Possibly the best part about imagination is that when you picture something in your head, you are the first and only person to see it. If I asked you all to think about a tree, I can promise that no one’s personal image of a tree will be the same as mine. The possibilities of imagination are endless, and I am glad that I read this essay by Addison because it helped remind me of that quality. I just heard a cell phone go off in this room, which reminded me  that  imagination is slowly playing less and less of a part in our lives, which is sad. I think that we must expose ourselves to nature more often, and realize that this is a beauty that can be recreated with little effort, at any time.

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