I didn’t like to go outdoors as a kid. I didn’t like wind. I didn’t like bugs. I didn’t even really like sunlight. I liked being inside with TV and Legos. My dad was a nature guy tho and would drag me out there sometimes, and maybe that planted a seed.
In my 20’s I moved out West and read Kerouac’s “Dharma Bums,” and started going on Vision Quests (Utah, Alaska, Sahara, Great Smoky Mountains), and had some intense spiritual moments with nature, but I still didn’t make a lot of time for it in in my day-to-day life.
The taxi days were the worst. The closest I’d come to nature was seeing a fox or something run across the empty streets at 4 am, but I was pretty much never awake during the daylight hours. I remember one time dropping someone off at their mountain cabin at sunrise, and it was May and all the leaves were getting green, and I felt this intense grief of “what have I been missing?”
Then I quit cabbing and got the dayjob teaching and started dating Shana, and we started going outdoors all the time. We were both anxious people and nature seemed to help with that. We’d go hunting around the area for new spots, our favorite being Rocky Mountain National Park.
It was during this time I got hooked on birds, and soon I was spending nearly all my free time outdoors targeting new birds for my year/life list.
I especially connected to the land in Arizona, where my family all moved down a few years ago. Sometimes I’d go out mid-day, mid-summer just to feel the strength of the heat.
Somehow I’d become a full on ‘Nature Guy,’ and it started to work its way into my writing. Right before he died, I reconnected with my old Naropa poetry teacher, Jack Collom, who specialized in eco-poetics, and I saw myself as sort of continuing that lineage.
- Do you like lions and/or not take care of yourself?
- Do you like polar bears and/or get stressed about your job?
- Do you like snow-capped mountains and/or wear sandals?
- Do you like plastic bags, and/or hate plastic bags?
- Do you like butterflies, and/or wish you could be alright?
- Do you like fishing and beer, and/or get annoyed by fisherman with beer?
- Do you like the moon, and/or get frustrated by the limitations of your phone’s camera?
- Do you like birding, and/or terrified of killer bees?
- Do you like Arizona, and/or the names of geographic locations?
Then you might Me&You with this book!