I am a lifelong student of nature, and have always delighted in the discovery of other animals and plants. I became intimate with nature early on—we spent much of our summers living in a cabin on Lake Leander, 20 miles north of Virginia, MN. The boreal forest, or north woods, extends south into northeast Minnesota. It grows on the Canadian shield, the most ancient granite, scarred by glaciers. As a boy, I was aware that I could walk due north to Hudson's Bay and cross only one railroad and two or three roads.
For me, nature has always been a healing place. When family became too much, I escaped into the woods. I knew young that nature would provide me with the experiences I needed to nourish my spirit and help me heal. I studied zoology informally and at the University of Minnesota in the mid 1950s.
In 1994 I survived a stroke, and was elated to find myself alive, somewhat sensible, and still capable of making poems. When I left the city hospital after several lifetimes (weeks, really) and came home to the land, I was freshly amazed by beauty; in my absence, green had learned a thousand new names. I found I had regained "the innocent eye" of the child. From then I have reveled in an ever more intense love for the rest of nature.
After stroke therapy, I decided to spend the rest of my allotted time writing and sharing poems of celebration and helping people recover their intuitive connections with Earth.
Philosopher Baruch Spinoza wrote some words in the sixteenth century that I have come to cherish: “We are as large as our loves.” Growing older means, with luck, becoming larger.