Anyone remotely aware of Australia’s conservation movement over the past 40 years will know the name Milo Dunphy. Milo was very much the son of his father, Myles. On Christmas Eve, 1910, the 19 year old Myles stood at the now famous Echo Point Lookout in Katoomba.
The view of vast, blue-green valleys and towering sandstone cliffs glowing orange in the afternoon light filled him with such awe that later he wrote, “I had never seen such a scene before. It is hard to grasp the stupendous immensity connected with all things relating to the scenic part of the Mountains”. Myles’ experience that day fired a passion and sparked a mission.
The passion was for bushwalking and the mission was the preservation of bushland for the pleasure and well-being of everyone. By the end of his life, Myles had become a legend among bushwalkers and a towering figure in the Australian conservation movement.
This is a great example of the way aesthetic pleasure (the beauty buzz) can inspire. Myles’ aesthetic “high moment” sparked a life-changing interest and commitment. The botanist, Sir Joseph Banks is another person whose life’s direction was profoundly influenced by natural beauty. He attributed his passion for the study of plants to the beauty of the wildflowers he encountered when he was a boy.
There are countless other examples from science, the arts, music and literature that testify to the power of natural beauty to motivate human endeavour. Names like Turner, Constable, McCubbin, Ansel Adams, Peter Dombrovskis, Wordsworth, Keats and Shelley readily come to mind. It is fair to say, I think, that the beauty buzz has been one of the foundation stones of human civilisation and culture.
My artist daughter, Wendy, certainly finds inspiration in natural beauty, especially the explosion of beauty that follows the monsoon in south-eastern Nepal where she spends a good deal of her time. The name she has chosen for her enterprise is After the Monsoon which says it all really.
She was inspired by the monsoonal blooms on this Poinciana tree
To create this using polymer clay
If you have a story about an experience of natural beauty that has been significant for and you, I would be delighted to hear it.