Maurice Maeterlinck on environmental limits

Maurice Maeterlinck was a turn of the century playwright, poet and essayist. Apart from being famous for plagiarising The Soul of a White Ant, originally written by Afrikaans poet and scientist Eugene Marais, “thieving” Maeterlinck also wrote a book called The Life of a Bee. [tweetmeme source=”victoria_plumb” only_single=false]

I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a beautifully bound first edition. As I greedily absorbed the prose (most of which is scientifically incorrect, but deliciously written nonetheless), I spotted this passage which resonates with nature and environmental limits.

It is true that our eye, before which these things happen, can only reflect a reality proportionate to our needs and our stature; nor have we any warrant for believing that Nature ever loses sight of her wandering results and causes.

In any event she will rarely permit them to stray too far, or approach illogical or dangerous regions. She disposes of two forces that can never err; and when the phenomenon shall have trespassed beyond certain limits, she will beckon to life or to death – which arrives, re-establishes order, and unconcernedly marks out the path afresh.

If you ever have a chance to read the book, it is pure honey. If only more nature writing was like this…Oh hang on The Peregrine is pretty amazing too.

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