Hymns which have references to the countryside have existed since the days of the early church and continue to be an essential part of worship. The psalms, for example, contain references to the grass which grows and dies (Psalm 90), to the flowers which bloom and fade (Psalm 103), to the beasts of the field (Psalm 8) and to the harvest (Psalm 65). These references, and others to the hills, the sea, the clouds and the sky, suggest that there was a consciousness of the natural world even before the hymns of the early church began to celebrate the countryside and the natural cycles of the seasons. The simplest natural transitions, from darkness to light, and from day to night, were extremely...
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