Taking delight in our local landscape brings us happiness. Sometimes we think we need the exotic holiday to be happy but I know that within walking distance from my home there are walks of such beauty that can take your breath away. A little bit of water, a creek or a river, some natural vegetation and a pathway through can sometimes be enough to lift the spirits of a despondent person. Nauseatingly-Nice Fanny Price in Mansfield Park appreciates the landscape; she notices “the bearings of the roads, the difference of the soil, the state of the harvest, the cottagers, the cattle”. This is contrasted with Mercenary-Mary who saw “nature inanimate nature, with little observation her attention was all for men and women”.
Nauseatingly-Nice Fanny Price appreciates the natural: She is looking out the window one starlit night and says, “Here’s harmony, Here’s repose!” Edmond replies, “they are much to be pitied who have not been taught to feel in some degree as you do – who have not at least been given a taste for nature in early life”. I am so fortunate I live in Melbourne. Despite being a big city, we have some of the most beautiful gardens in the world and there are a body of home gardeners that bring the world of nature into their homes. Equally exciting is schools setting up kitchen gardens to teach children the pleasures of gardening and cooking.
Appreciating the seasons is one of the joys of life that has been with humans since time immemorial. Today the weather has distinctly changed, the sun has peeped out and supplied just a touch of the last of Autumn’s warmth. As I walk my children to school I can feel the happiness of the sun on my skin. Winter is just around the corner but there may still be some delicious days. Upon arriving back in Mansfield Park, Fanny feels sad that she had missed the coming of Spring in Mansfield. She had been by the sea in Portsmouth. She had taken the pleasures of spring previously for granted. “She had not known before, how much the beginnings and progress of vegetation had delighted her. What animation of both body and mind, she had derived from watching the advance of that season which cannot, in spite of its capriciousness, be unlovely, and seeing its increasing beauties, from the earliest flowers, in the warmest divisions of her aunt’s garden, to the opening of leaves of her uncles plantations and the glory of his woods.” Delight in nature and the changing of the seasons seems such a basic ingredient to happiness.
Has anyone got some photos of their local landscape?
5 responses to “Local Landscapes”
Doesn’t Fanny’s delight in nature, especially when she realizes what she’s missed in Portsmouth, make her more sympathetic, less “nauseatingly nice”? I like the line about how she visits her plants in the East room, to see if “by giving air to her geraniums she might inhale a breeze of mental strength herself” — she’s seeking courage in the natural world. But I know that when it comes to Fanny Price, the world is divided in two! I think she’s interesting because she isn’t always sure exactly what to do — and not all her thoughts, especially those about Mary C., are nice ones.
Fanny’s delight in nature does make her more sympathetic but the way she stands up to Important-White-Male-Sir Thomas Bertram actually makes her a hero. Yes she is nauseating nice but that is her disguise; under the velvet glove is the hand that rocks her world. Yes the world is divided in two when it comes to Fanny but, despite my referring to her as nauseatingly nice, I actually have a very high regard for her as I see you do too. Thanks for the great comment.
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I think the local landscape is an often under appreciated splendor. Jane describes h environments beautifully, whether they be the splendourous landscapes of Rosings, the quiet environments of Mansfield Park, or the wild and stormy English south coast. We are often chasing the next dream. or the next ‘hot tourist destination’ rather than looking at and appreciating the beauty and splendourous of the landscapes we live in, whether these be the lush and green gardens of Melbourne, or the untamed Indian Ocean coast line, and sunburnt plains of Geraldton.