Saturday, March 12, 2011
A Moment of Reflection
Growing up I was very blessed to have been born to a set of parents who enjoyed and respected the outdoors, especially my Dad. Many of my earliest memories all stem from time spent out in the fresh air of nature. Walks down the country road we lived on with my Dad will forever be etched in my mind. We would stop at the little creeks that would run under the road and search for the Bullfrogs whose croaks from the cattails would catch our attention or to watch the Damselflies and Dragonflies dart back and forth, always seeming to be searching for that perfect spot to perch and sun themselves on. Summer evenings would be spent running around the backyard full of clover and getting stung countless times from stepping on honeybees going about their business only to dry my tears sitting next to my Dad on the front porch of our house facing west looking out across the fields watching fireflies that seemed to number in the millions flickering in the growing darkness. The soft hand on my shoulder waking me up before the sun to head up to the Mad River for a day of trout fishing; always having to unload the canoe and equipment at the starting point, drive to the bridge where we would end and ride our bikes through the crisp morning air heavy with dew and the calls of Killdeer back to the first bridge. These are just a few of the moments that will live forever in my memories and were the catalyst to what would eventually bloom into my life's calling. There is nothing I could do in a thousand lifetimes to thank him enough for being and providing the necessary spark to ignite the flame of passion in my young heart to become the man I am today.
I am asked all the time how I came to the decision to pursue a career and life in the preservation, understanding and education of the natural world and the only honest answer I can ever come up with is it was never really a decision that was made...it just sort of happened. When I'm walking through the forest and I get that first smell of the damp earth or the touch of grass on my arms as I'm wading through a prairie it all just comes together and the only word for it is...perfect. Nothing has ever felt more right in my life then my time spent out in the wilderness soaking in all the sights, smells, sounds and textures of the living world beneath my feet or above my head. That is one of the major reasons I started this blog; to share my experiences with nature in hopes that I can get just one person to feel the way I do. That's all it takes, really...one person. It only takes one individual to make a difference in our world to help us save the few good and decent places still left unspoiled and untouched. One person to stand up in this world of wastefulness and excess and truly believe that the fight is worth it. I am devoting my life to being one of those people and I hope there are more out there than can share in this dream to leave our state, our country, our Earth in a better place when it is time to give our bones back to the earth.
Ohio's Nature Preserves are my most treasured of areas in our great state. They are small but important reminders of the great splendor of nature that existed before civilization saw more importance in skyscrapers, roads and housing developments than the forests, prairies, wetlands etc. Many are the last vestiges of proof that these plants, animals and ecosystems ever originally existed in our state and should be treated as priceless pieces of art because that's exactly what they are. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When I see the sedgemats and sedge meadows of Cedar Bog or the Cedar glades and limestone barrens of Adams County I see a beauty worth saving, preserving and cherishing for future generations to enjoy and experience the same feeling of euphoria and nirvana that I do. I don't expect everyone to devote their lives to this effort because it takes a special kind of nut (of which I'm proud to admit I am) to be as in love and so perfectly happy with this goal. I only ask that you pay more attention to what is happening in the world around you, be more aware of your surroundings and the changes being handed down. Once these treasures are lost they are lost forever. There are no do overs, no mulligans, no restarts; we are stuck with the results of our actions. Why should we let a few peoples ignorance and apathy ruin such an amazing thing bestowed upon us to cherish and enjoy? I encourage all of you to take the time to lace up your shoestrings and get out there and experience and enjoy your parks, nature preserves, state forests and wildlife areas for yourselves. You never know what you may find out there or what you may find inside yourself, hiding behind the curtains of your mind and soul. My parents have always said, "be the change you want to see in yourself and in the world". I have taken that to heart and plan being a shepherd of Nature, a protector and educator of this unique and perfect natural world that we all descended from. We are all but one piece to the puzzle, one gear in the mechanics of a complex, yet simple clock called Nature. We are all part of something bigger and better than ourselves, than our species. It's time we start doing our part in protecting and preserving the only home we will ever know and have...
"The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth"