But nature takes on its occult power for redeeming experience when it puts the human being at a middle point between the perishable and the eternal. You watch nature’s decline in autumn and rebirth in spring, while you stay just as you were; half the objects in a forest clearing will die before you do, the leaves and birds and mushrooms, and yet you stay the same. Nature’s beauty seems to have been made for you, since only a human being can appreciate it; but you know nature is not created for you, and this melancholy indifference of nature to your appreciation adds it’s own gratifying experience of superior knowledge. It’s easier, finally, to have a mountain outlive you than another human being- especially when you know the mountain as it doesn’t know you, and everything smaller submits to you, as the squirrels run away in fright and the leaves fall at your feet.
– Mark Greif, The Concept of Experience