Many people experience a gateway to the sacred in nature. Anne Rowthorn is a passionate environmentalist and a freelance writer who has written seven books including Your Daily Life Is Your Temple, which was one of the books we selected as one of the "Best Spiritual Books of 2006." This new wonder-inducing anthology brings together poems and prose from around the world on fresh ways of seeing the earth:

"I hope the eye of the reader will be opened wide to see, to comprehend, to be filled with awe, and then to cherish, guard, and protect nature, perceived in its natural beauty."

The words of poets, prose writers, philosophers, and spiritual teachers are organized into 15 thematic sections:

• The Creation of the Universe
• Earth, Our Mother
• Awe and Adoration
• The Web of Life
• The Solace of Nature
• Air, Sky, and Stars
• The Sun Descends into Night • Forests and Mountains
• The Waters of Life
• Creatures Great and Small
• The Song of the Universe
• Beauty in a Moment
• Remembrance, Regret, and Requiem
• The Dream of Earth

Henry David Thoreau once wrote: "My profession is to always be alert, to find God in nature, to know God's lurking places, to attend all the oratorios and the operas in nature." Song of the Universe, edited by Anne Rowthorn catches and conveys, among other things, John Muir's appreciation for the extravagance of nature, Walt Whitman's wonder in regard to a leaf of grass, the delightful haikus of Issa, Li Po's celebration of dwelling in the green mountain, Edward Hays on the Spring Equinox, Satish Kumar learning from a tree, and Richard H. Goodwin's tribute to the soil. Here are a few samples from the book:

With the ink of its flowers and its rains,
with the quill of its lightening,
with the hand of its clouds,
winter wrote a letter upon the garden,
in purple and blue.
No artist could ever conceive the like of that.
And this is how the earth,
grown jealous of the sky,
embroidered stars in the folds
of the flower beds.
— Solomon Ibn Gabriol

Tree of my life,
you have grown slowly
in the shadow of giants.

Through darkness and solitude
you stretch year by year
towards that strange, clear light
in which the sky is hidden.

In the quiet grain of your
thoughts the inner life
of the forest stirs
like a secret still to be named.
— John Haines