When I was a nature lover I desperately wanted to talk to animals. I wore my heart on my sleeve. I read poetry by Wordsworth and Rumi. I hugged trees. I thought birds sang love songs. I drew moral lessons from the life cycle of a butterfly. I believed in magic — in the enchanted forests. I took admonishments about having a relationship to nature seriously. I went out in nature. I communed with nature. I sought romance and adventure in nature. And I felt betrayed when my love wasn't returned — if my heart didn't bleed my finger did. ("It bit me!")
Eventually most of us grow out of being ga-ga and head-over-heels. I did. First, I discovered the theory of evolution. Then, I began to recognize that I was being held captive by my own ignorance, enthralled by other people's idealism and duped by my own imagination.
Nature lovers bash science. I recently read a book that promised to "help the reader explore and enhance the psychological and spiritual dimensions of your life." This was to be accomplished by "communing with nature." In such a pursuit, scientific inquiry is inadequate said the author. Furthermore, scientific inquiry may actually lead to "separation from nature." Imagine that.
Like lovers everywhere, lovers of nature hang on to ignorance, fantasy, and mystery. Eventually, if they still care about the relationship, they have to deal with the hard work of intimacy. This requires, among other things, knowledge, patience and commitment. But lovers, as long as they can, seem to prefer mystery to enlightenment. The irony is that very passionate lovers of nature are often the well educated and the literary.