What were the two men thinking? Beston wrote to a friend:
The principle thing I stand for is, I suppose, not a "return to nature," which is a phrase capable of a quite childish interpretation, but the return to a poetic relation to nature. Man is out of relation to his background…When man is in a poetic relation to his background, he achieves a religious sense of life, and this is the sense that makes him Man.My children sometimes chide me for my use of the word "religious" in these posts and in my books. They fear, I suppose, that I'm lapsing into a kind of magical thinking that characterizes most people who call themselves religious. But I use the term as Beston uses it, as a way of describing a poetic relationship to the world. And what do I mean by "poetic"? First, awareness. Trying to live as best I can aware of the world around me, a world that is as thick with mystery wherever I am as on the shore of Walden Pond or Nauset Beach. And with awareness, to cultivate a sense of wonder, reverence, and gratitude, qualities that can unabashedly be called "religious."
Our lives are lived so much in artificial environments that they end up being what Beston called "only a ghost of the human adventure." He continues: "It has always seemed to me that a normal range of physical sensation, a sense, for instance, of the fabric of earth underfoot and the sudden cold of a change of the wind, is not only a part of the discipline of life but also its reward."
I don't need magic. Or immortality. The only rapture I'm waiting for is the feel of earth underfoot and the caress of the wind.