"As When On a Holiday..." § 79

Nature, natura, is called φύσις in Greek. This word is the fundamental word of thinkers at the beginning of Occidental thought. But the translation of φύσις by natura (nature) already transposes subsequent elements into the beginning, and replaces that which is proper to the beginning with something alien to it.

Φύσις, φύειν signifies growth. But how do the Greeks understand growth? Not as a quantitative increase, nor as "development," nor even as the succession of a "becoming." Φύσις is an emerging and an arising, a self-opening, which, while rising, at the same time turns back into what has emerged, and so shrouds within itself that which on each occasion gives presence to what is present. Thought as a fundamental word, φύσις signifies a rising into the open: the lighting of that clearing into which anything may enter appearing, present itself in its outline, show itself in its "appearance" (εἶδος, ἰδέα) and be present as this or that. Φύσις is that rising-up which goes-back-into-itself; it names the coming to presence of that which dwells in the rising-up and thus comes to presence as open. The very clearing of the open, however, becomes most purely discernible as the transparency of brightness that lets the "light" pass through. Φύσις is the rising-up of the clearing, and thus it is the hearth and the place of light. The illumination of "light" belongs to the fire; it is the fire. Fire is above all brightness and blaze. Brightness lightens and first affords the open for all appearing, and first gives clarity to all that appears. The blaze illuminates, it sets afire in its glowing all that emerges into its appearing. Thus the fire, as the illuminating-blazing "light," is the open, that which has already come to presence in everything that emerges and goes away within the open. Φύσις is what is present in all. However, must not "nature," if it is φύσις, insofar as it is the "all-present," be at the same time the all-glowing? That is why in this poem Hölderlin also names "nature" the "all-creative" and the "all-living."

The essence of Hölderlin's word "nature" resounds in this poem following the concealed truth of the primordial fundamental word φύσις. But Hölderlin never knew the force of the primordial word φύσις, whose force has still today been scarcely measured. Likewise, with what he names "nature," Hölderlin does not only want to let the experience of ancient