My nature career has been splendid and long.

It started with wiggly tadpoles, summit-seeking ladybugs, and the smell of freshly turned earth in the warmth of May. Then it expanded into bright orange autumn leaves held up to the sun, secret nests of garter snake eggs under the porch stoop, and yellow stains applied artistically to the knees of blue jeans with the rich heads of dandelions. Pretty soon, it was feisty blue-speckled crayfish in the creek at the bottom of the hill, bats that darted hectic messages across the evening clouds, and the sleepy summer rhythm of cicadas and crickets.

It evolved into the eerie aquatic-sounding love songs of Rocky Mountain elk, the raspy laughs of playful ravens, and the metallic scent of sun-warmed granite with bright white veins of pure quartz. After that, it was nothing but the nickel-coated rush of nearby lightning strikes and the miniature alpine bouquets that clung to the summits of 14ners along the Continental Divide. (Occasionally, the warp-speed joy of a snowy couloir glissade and the sublime peace of napping in the all-together on a basalt heat sink as thick and wide as a dark grey Ferrari.)

These days, it’s drinking in the elegantly blended perfumes of wild clover, lupine, and rose along the Columbia River and tracking acrobatic lizards through cities of bunch grass while golden eagles carve lazy half circles in the sky. Sometimes, it’s absorbing the thunder of hundred-foot waterfalls while dangling bootless toes in frigid spring melt. Recently, it was tickling my nose with the sulfurous fumes of a geothermal kitchen atop a Cascadian volcano.

10 thoughts on “Backstory

  1. Hi!

    I just had to drop by your blog after reading your comment on the —- forum about the ‘elevator’ and law of attraction.

    It was funny. It was evocative. It was AWESOME.

    You’re a wicked writer. I’ve been making my living as a writer for over 10 years so it’s a true joy for me to stumble upon someone whose prose can totally reel me in.

    Simple pleasures, huh? 😉

    That’s all really – I suppose this is nothing more than an electronic ‘high-5’ – but I just thought you should know someone out there totally dug your post. 🙂

    Keep it rizzle!

  2. I think nature is the perfect playground for a high-energy person like you. Can you imagine yourself living in a highrise, looking for dandelions growing through the sidewalk cracks? No, me neither. I moved from Washington DC to the mountains of Virginia about 8 yrs ago and have (rarely) looked back. Being out in wild nature changes us at a fundamental level – like you, I have no use for TV and high fashion but love discovering new wildflowers, watching a different hue of pink or purple or orange (or all) in another sunset. I believe that people who do not connect with Nature are basically rootless and disconnected and keep looking for the next (artificial) thrill. I would like to imagine what it would be like if our large corporations and important government positions were run by nature-lovers…what a different world this would be!

    • My memories of apartment dwelling can be summed up in two words: living hell. Egg cartons for humans, Prozac’s nemesis. I always stuffed those tiny rooms with as many plants as would take the light but it was small consolation against an overwhelming overgrowth of angst and oppression that permeated those places like mold. It’s like they collected unhappy people like a shower drain collects hair.

      Now, ironically, I’m in a house with no indoor plants but a veritable jungle of a garden girding it. Right outside each window is a fluffy topography of green thanks to a lifetime of experience and a few generous friends. (Good gardeners always quickly respond to your compliments with, “Want some?” and hand you a shovel and bucket.) I require an energetic buffer of peace and soothing randomness between me and everything else. Nature is the ultimate Pause button for the tortured mind. Enjoyed long enough, it becomes Refresh. If you’re ready, it can be Enter.

      But if it’s over 60 degrees, I’m inside with a smoothie and two air conditioners.

      • I recognize myself in this description: my apartments used to be filled with plants also, representing my yearning for living things. I still have a few plants in the house (more during the winter) but most of them are growing in the gardens and my fledgling edible forest garden now where they seem to be very happy.

        • Plant some golden raspberries in a giant, bottomless plastic pot and sink it in the ground. They won’t spread and they will produce snacks for months. I’ve been chewing since May.

  3. What a beautiful description of your adventures. You’ve engaged nearly all my senses with the post and have me feeling as if I’m your third ear and eye.
    I have to admit, to me this sounds like a life so well and truly lived, our planet would surely vote you as one of the few who really understands how to make the most of what’s on offer.
    Inspiring, indeed.

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