Through out the novel "To the Lighthouse", Woolf uses aspects of nature to further the development of the story. It is not until the "Time passes" segment that nature truly comes center stage. To the Lighthouse handles the "characterization" of nature in the "Time Passes" segment of the novel like an actual, physical character rather than a backdrop or a metaphor for human emotions.
The depiction of nature in this manner is contrary to the more traditional Western view of nature. Western culture views nature as an "other" that exists separate and apart from society. Nature is something that is traveled some distance to experience and not considered to be around us in our day-to-day lives.
In the "Time Passes" segment, nature is shown in and around culture, cohabitating the same area. "Stray airs, advance guards of great armies, blustered in, brushed bare boards, nibbled and fanned, met nothing ...
that wholly resisted them...and the soft nose of the clammy sea airs, rubbing, snuffling, iterating, reiterating their questions" as the air interacts with the human sphere. Rats inhabit the attics, the rain comes in the house and the china out in the lawn.
Nature is given an active voice that has a presence in the human sphere that begs the question, "[Does] Nature supplement what man advanced?" Despite the presence attributed to nature, nature does not intentionally "complete what he began" nor does nature maliciously tear down what he began. Nature continues onwards with little regard to the effect of the seasons, airs and rain on the artifacts of human existence.