Other forms of sought experience confront mortality very differently, when you try to align yourself with immortal things and, in the presence of quick passing objects, assimilate the perception of mortality as a kind of strength. Nature is usually what we need to experience to make the trick work.
The sights of trees, or mountaintops, or the sea, possess their intrinsic delights by diversity of colors, and motion, and the millions of objects in a single scene. But nature takes on its occult power for redeeming experience when it puts the human being at a middle point between the perishable and the eternal.
You watch nature’s decline in autumn and rebirth in spring, while you stay just as you were; half the objects in a forest clearing will die before you do, the leaves and birds and mushrooms, and yet you stay the same.
Nature’s beauty seems to have been made for you, since only a human being can appreciate it; but you know nature is not created for you, and this melancholy indifference of nature to your appreciation adds its own gratifying experience of superior knowledge.
It’s easier, finally, to have a mountain outlive you than another human being—especially when you know the mountain as it doesn’t know you, and everything smaller submits to you, as the squirrels run away in fright and the leaves fall at your feet.
Greif, Mark. Essays Against Everything. New York: Vintage Books, 2016. 83–84. Print.