The essay assignment is "What does nature do?" in a selection of five of a dozen or so poems we've read. I'm going to give the topic a try myself.
Right now it brings a cold hand, a morning in which I'll step out carefully, first opening and closing windows. In some of the poems it takes animal forms, gazing. Other poems bring weather, darkness, a wildness at the end of some road. Wildness at the end of every road, is what this essay might get at.
Yesterday I asked them to test a comment Graham Swift made, as reported in the Oct.6 Globe review of his new novel: "Our big feelings are drawn out of us by small things." (Thanks to Ibi for pointing the quote out to me.) So we spent thirty minutes outside. Start small, see what happens.
(When I tried it, I heard a cardoor slam, and got into a few paragraphs about "Did I really rush out and hug Dad's legs after I heard the sounds of his '58 Chev, the gravel on our driveway, the thunk of his door?")