Love of nature
In a Christian adaptation of Cicero's teaching about friendship Aelred, abbot of Rievaux starts with a circle of his monks in the cloister. 
The day before yesterday, when I was going round the cloister of the monastery, sitting with the brethren in a loving circle, as though amid the delights of paradise, I admired the leaves, the flowers, and the fruits of every tree. I found no one in that great number whom I did not love, and whom I did not believe loved me. I was filled with such a joy as passes all the delights of this world. For I felt as though my spirit were transfused into them all, and their affection into me, so that I could say with the prophet: "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity".
Even in this world, where not all we love can be our friends, how much easier it is to live in an atmosphere of love and trust, rather than surrounded by every kind of suspicion, loving no one and feeling oneself to be loved by no one.
in  Aelred explicitly alludes to that note of disinterestedness in love which so much appealed to the early Cistercian writers as an essential way of insisting upon the worthwhileness of Christian love in itself.
....the spiritual friendship which we call genuine is sought, not with an eye on any worldly expediency, or for some ulterior motive, but simply on account of its own natural worth and the inclination of the human heart, so that its profit and its reward is nothing other than itself.
Thus the Lord in the Gospel says: "I have appointed you that you should go and should bring forth fruit", that is, should love one another. For in true friendship one travels by making progress, and receives the fruit in the experience of the delight of its perfection.
Thus spiritual friendship is begotten between the good, who have lives, habits, and interests that are alike, which is "accord in benevolence and charity on things human and divine". So this definition seems to me to be adequate to express the notion of friendship if, however, according to our usage, we understand "charity" to exclude from friendship everything vicious.
When he goes on to speak of the origin and source of friendship, Aelred makes it quite clear that this disinterestedness in love, which is a reflection of God's disinterested self-giving in creation, is in no sense incompatible with a genuine sense of need. God alone is un-needy; only to him every creature cries: "Thou art my God, for thou hast no need of my goods."
Everything else needs the completion of relationship for its fulfilment in a world in which a vestige of God's own supreme unity has been left in the natural tendency of all things to fall into an order in time and place, from stones in the brook and trees in the wood to animals at play, everything seems to long for companionship.
The theoretical basis of the discussion is developed with reference to the belief which Aelred shares with Cicero that "there is nothing more advantageous to seek in human affairs, nothing harder to find, nothing sweeter to experience" than friendship. It is not merely that, as scripture says, "a faithful friend is the medicine of life". It is also that, as a consequence, friendship is a step towards that perfection "which consists in the love and knowledge of God; so that, from being a friend of man, a man becomes a friend of God, according to that saying of our Saviour in the Gospel: 'I will not now call you my servants, but my friends'".   
According to Aelred, the being which all things have is a participation or share in the being of God, who is the 'being of all things that exist'.  In his defence of the worthwhileness of friendship Aelred takes the view that it is actually a foretaste of heaven, "where no one hides his thoughts or disguises his affection. This is that true and everlasting friendship, which begins here and is perfected there. Here, few know it, where few are good. There, everyone shares it, where all are good".
The medieval image or model of the cosmos into which Aelred's imaginings had to fit, which, however grotesque its inaccuracies, was one of the most attractive concepts of it ever devised.  In this respect it is likely that the Cistercians knew better than the monks of the urban orders so many of the components of this grand design - the rocks and trees among which they worked and slept, the birds and animals he encountered each day in their wild valley,  and – around or above him - the elements, the sun and the moon, angels and demons, Lucifer and God.