The Alchemist

by: Paulo Coelho

Nature

Quotes Nature
I couldn't have found God in the seminary, he thought, as he looked at the sunrise.

As he watches a red sunrise, Santiago thinks about his dream of traveling and about his life thus far. He feels content with his decision to leave the seminary, and this admission sets the stage for his spiritual truth: God reveals Himself in the natural world that surrounds him, not in the walls of a church or a school. Such an understanding reflects the beliefs of a naturalist who sees eternity in flowers and sunrises.

The boy felt jealous of the freedom of the wind, and saw that he could have the same freedom. There was nothing to hold him back except himself.

Santiago has just felt the immensity of the levanter, the winds on the Moors named for the Levant, the eastern end of the Mediterranean. The winds make him think about the changes in his life that he has already made and those he considers as he converses with Melchizedek, who encourages him to go to Africa. The winds, which make him think of adventure and travel, serve as nature’s way of reminding Santiago of what is most important in life.

Whenever he saw the sea, or a fire, he fell silent, impressed by their elemental force. I've learned things from the sheep, and I've learned things from crystal, he thought. I can learn something from the desert, too. It seems old and wise.

Santiago begins to be one with the desert as the caravan moves on. The travelers become quiet, allowing Santiago to connect with his surroundings on a deeper level. One of the camel drivers explains that the desert makes a person feel so small that he should remain silent, and Santiago understands this intuitively. The wind, the only constant in the desert, leads Santiago to reminisce about his sheep and the merchant’s daughter. His connection with the landscape propels his inward journey along his Personal Legend.

“I am learning the Language of the World, and everything in the world is beginning to make sense to me . . . even the flight of the hawks,” he said to himself. And, in that mood, he was grateful to be in love. When you are in love, things make even more sense, he thought.

After meeting Fatima at the oasis, Santiago wanders in the desert, listening to the wind, hypnotized by the horizon, when he sees two hawks flying overhead. By now, he realizes that the desert operates as a source of omens and understanding. At first, he thinks the hawks will teach him about love. However, he soon realizes, when one of them dives and attacks the other, that they are an omen of impending war.

The bird knew the language of the desert well, and whenever they stopped, he flew off in search of game. On the first day he returned with a rabbit, and on the second with two birds.

Here, the narrator describes the actions of the falcon traveling across the desert with Santiago and the alchemist. While traveling, the alchemist rides in front carrying the falcon on his shoulder. Like many of the animals in the book, the huge bird lives by its instincts and speaks a language without words, the language of the desert. The falcon keeps Santiago and the alchemist alive, nourishing them physically and spiritually. Throughout the text, animals and other natural objects carry and exhibit wisdom in its purest form.