Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Attention to the mystery

posted by Chet at 12:24 PM UTC

The writer Barry Lopez visited the college yesterday, worked with students (including my two young colleagues Bailey and Greg), and talked to an all college audience. He was received with warmth and appreciation.

This final passage from his essay The Naturalist, originally published in Orion, could stand as a manifesto for how I have tried to live my own life:

What being a naturalist has come to mean to me, sitting my mornings and evenings by the river, hearing the clack of herons through the creak of swallows over the screams of osprey under the purl of fox sparrows, so far removed from [Gilbert] White and [Charles} Darwin and [Aldo] Leopold and even [Rachel] Carson, is this: Pay attention to the mystery. Apprentice yourself to the best apprentices. Rediscover in nature your own biology. Write and speak with appreciation for all you have been gifted.

If you'd like to go on a walk with me along The Path, you can do so here, thanks to Chuck Kramer, lately of WGBH, who was kind enough several years ago to invite himself and his camera along.