I've been reading "Ansel Adams An Autobiography" and I think much of my feelings for the American West must come from an over-exposure to the photographs of the American West made by Adams and others.
Near the end of a Nancy Newhall poem are the lines that say a great deal about the way I feel about the natural world.
..."Were all learning lost, all music stilled,
Man, if these resources still remained to him,
could again hear singing in himself
and rebuild anew the habitations of his thought,
let all men
turn to the earth."
It's from Nancy Newhall's text for "This is an American Earth"
It's the "Tenderly now" part that we've had the hardest time with.