Sunday, October 25, 2009

In The Beginning

Day one of my blog. Where do I begin? Back to the beginning: rural Connecticut, the informative years. I'm just a barefoot, drippy nose kid running through meadows and woods with a biology professor dad who dies at the end of my seventh summer. But those days of childhood exuberance were sponge days for me. I absorbed everything I saw, touched and heard. I climbed onto monstrously huge glacial boulders, captured fireflies for the bedside jar, threw torn skunk cabbage leaves at my sisters, hunted snakes near the barn and drowned garden- invading Japanese beetles in a slurry of used motor oil. And on the cool days of November I'd stick my nose to the window to wait and welcome the first snow flakes. And seeing a deer down by the swamp was the ultimate excitement.

Not much has changed. I'm in Brandon Township now. I still like bare feet in dirt. I still climb onto glacial boulders (they don't seem as huge anymore) but now I know they are called glacial erratics. Fireflies remain magical and I seek out snakes and skunk cabbage, but don't throw the putrid leaves at sisters anymore. And again I have an old collapsing barn. Flying squirrels live in a hollow beam. My garden is challenged by nature's creatures, mostly raccoons and deer, and just like in the past, Japanese beetles chewed vegetable leaves. Deer sleep by my swamp and visit my bird feed spillage. All good.

I'm an unabashed partisan for the ways of the wild and the natural - and unnatural -history of our county and country. A tremendous diversity of actors inspires me in my treks: short jaunts out the back door, in local parks or far away Tanzania. For me that's what it's all about. I see wonder and wisdom in the frantic antics of squirrels in these colorful waning days of autumn and in the subtle tone change of a chickadee on a gray near winter day. As this blog takes life I am not turning away from my old life, but I am walking into a new one, an Earth Almanac you and I will share, so I hope. Crows are calling now, most likely harassing a great horned owl down by the pines. It's time to head outside with a mug of coffee and let leaves crunch underfoot. Maybe I'll find tracks of the coyote that reminds me nature is always adapting to our ways, even as we fail to adapt to theirs.