In the ever swinging tone of a novel, one may wish to show a moment of peace amidst all the chaos. In my novel it happens a few times, most notably when characters are travelling across vast natural landscapes, or when they gaze at the stars at night.
Quite often, during a revision, I mark all these passages for deletion. I find them dull, and not particularly engaging. I wished to convey peace and show a moment in which characters let go of the struggle, but instead I find myself skipping over paragraphs of someone dozing off while contemplating the beauty of nature.
To give an example from a much more renowned author, my passages could be considered uglier versions of
The sun was setting upon one of the rich grassy glades of that forest, which we have mentioned in the beginning of the chapter. Hundreds of broad-headed, short-stemmed, wide-branched oaks, which had witnessed perhaps the stately march of the Roman soldiery, flung their gnarled arms over a thick carpet of the most delicious green sward; in some places they were intermingled with beeches, hollies, and copsewood of various descriptions, so closely as totally to intercept the level beams of the sinking sun; in others they receded from each other, forming those long sweeping vistas, in the intricacy of which the eye delights to lose itself, while imagination considers them as the paths to yet wilder scenes of silvan solitude.
I think that these passages might have worked in the past, but for today's literature they are not engaging enough. They look like they serve no purpose, they introduce no themes to the story, nor to the plot, and they could be mistaken as artsy info-dumps on the setting, with the drawback that the characters are not going to engage with these particular elements of the setting.
On the other hand, the goal of the passage is to break the fast-paced tone of the narration, shift the viewpoint, and give the reader a moment to breathe. Ideally it should come across as a short pause in the narration, rather than a 'ok, what's the trick with this description?' passage.
How can I reach the goal while making these passages more intriguing and engaging for the reader?