I am a country kid who grew up surrounded with the lush green world of eastern Pennsyvania, the hardwood ridges, vast farm fields of grain, and the stream corriders of crystaline water. These were all populated with so many wild creatures, creatures who captured the fascination of that country boy. I learned later in the writings of Jose Ortega y Gasset that what I was swept up in was the pursuit and the possession of beauty. That possession can be of the eye alone, the image in the mind alone or on film. It can be the possession of the hand as with the small creatures captured on adventures afield. The crayfish,butterflies, salamanders, or the rabbit nest full of squirming babies. It was also the fish, caught, held, and released. The expanses of spring flowers seen and aromas smelled. All left undisturbed or caught and touched but returned to the places where they had been found. It can also be the possession of fish and game animals, brought home for use as food.
I spent all of my youth emmersed in this world. That world was shared by most of the adults in my life from whom I learned great lessons about that natural world and life’s coming challenges.
I will attempt to convey the portions of this experience I deem important. I am attempting to share what I experienced. I see it as defining who I became and I believe this experience would be valuable to anyone growing to become an adult person. I look around today and see very little of the substance of that experience. I believe almost none of this journey is experienced today. It could be in many forms but it is not. That wonderful world of nature is still out there. Damaged and diminshed perhaps, but still there, available for hungry young minds to use for its wealth of joy and lessons.
If I can attract just one to look closely at what I saw and pursue these worlds on their own and maybe be enriched by it, I would see this effort a success.
I was one lucky kid.