Hey Waldo, You Should Have Read Your Humboldt
Ralph Waldo Emerson espoused the transcendental notions that "nature always wears the colors of the spirit" and "there is a kind of contempt of the landscape felt by him who has just lost by death a dear friend," but I think we all know that the opposite is more often true-- if it's a beautiful sunny day at the shore, low humidity and a crisp breeze, then you can't help enjoying the weather, even if a half dozen of your dearest friends were just eaten by a school of rampant hammerhead sharks . . . and we know in the bleak winter months that some of us get the blues (scientifically known as seasonal affective disorder) and drink and eat way too much, and while Emerson got the cause and effect wrong, it appears that his predecessor, Alexander Humboldt, got it right; Andrea Wulf, in her fantastic book The Invention of Nature: Alexander Humboldt's New World, explains that "Humboldt showed how nature could have an influence on people's imagination . . . what we might take for granted today-- that there is a correlation between the external world and our mood -- was a revelation to Humboldt's readers."