I grew up in the Dallas suburbs and currently reside in Houston. I’ve always been a fat city kid. Five years ago I decided to make a “life-style change” and began eating healthy and taking walks outside. I’d never been a big fan of nature, (Texas is HOT outside!) but by forcing myself to spend time with it I began to appreciate it’s beauty. Fear remained though. Being paranoid of coyote attacks (and other unlikely events) will certainly keep you alert during a walk.
My time outdoors is always within controlled nature, my favorites being the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center and the Buffalo Bayou Jogging Trail. Even with the large amount of control humans have exerted over these spaces, that fear remains. It’s beautiful, but it could also kill you.
I relate it to the idea of the sublime. Edmund Burke, an early philosopher focusing on (among other things) the sublime, includes such terms as “darkness, obscurity, privation, vastness, magnificence, loudness and suddenness, and pleasurable terror” in his definition. The sublime goes beyond beauty and has a power over us: a power to compel and cause destruction. To Burke, beauty is caused by love and the sublime is caused by fear.
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