Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
– Albert Einstein
The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
– John Muir
I’m just not the outdoor type.
– Liza Myers, age 5
My childish (and untrue) words were spoken after a rainy, mosquito-besieged camping trip in a car crowded with three of my five siblings, (the other two weren’t born yet) and our German Shepherd, at a place somewhere in western Maryland that I vaguely remember was called Swallow Falls.
(My parents never let me forget that declaration.)
Their intention was to instill an appreciation of the outdoors, of wilderness and a connection with nature.
Throughout my childhood we birded, hiked, identified plant species and watched wildlife with a scientific sense of wonder and awe. We spent hours pouring over identification books for birds and butterflies; peering through botanical hand lenses and gardening both for food and beauty.
All the while I was training my eye to see the beauty and details of nature while gathering visual reference for the art to come.