In Nature’s Heart


A gentle dawn chorus along a small creek in the Ozarks Mountains of Arkansas. © Lang Elliott.

photo of LangIn just a few days, I will leave my home in Ithaca, New York, and travel south to Tennessee, the first leg of a five month journey. I will begin by exploring the foothills of the Appalachians, in search of colorful wildflower blooms and relaxing dawn choruses of birds. From there I will travel westward to the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and then northward to Canada’s boreal forest, with frogs and birds primarily on my mind. Then, as summer unfolds, my focus will shift to insects, and my travels will take me to destinations yet unknown.

My goal is to immerse myself in nature as I never have before—to rest in nature’s heart, so to speak—and then reflect back my impressions. The blog will act as my canvas, allowing me to share my experiences through a variety of media, including photography, video, sound recording, and printed or spoken word.

This will hopefullty be a poetic journey, intensely personal, and quite unlike any of the dozens of expeditions I have undertaken over the years. If all goes, well, I hope to fall upon my knees into the dirt of life, delighting in discovery, like a child at play in the garden. I propose to enjoy nature for the sheer pleasure of it. My messages will be brief and poignant (hopefully), like nature haiku—artful distillations, firmly rooted in place and time, yet transcendent in that art acquires a life of its own.

My journey is not about teaching natural history. It is not about conveying factual information. Rather, it is about witnessing, celebrating, and singing praise to the wildness that surrounds me. It is about opening my heart to the heart of nature. It is about resting quietly in a wordless space of joy and appreciation, and then, when I feel inspired, dancing upon the canvas and leaving footprints for all to see and hear.

Granted, my plan is a bit daunting. The technical challenges alone are intimidating. Will I actually have time to edit videos and sound recordings while on-the-road, and also find time to post them on the internet? Maybe this too much to ask of myself, given that expeditions of the past have always been fraught with trials and tribulations of one sort or the other. But I am not one to be deterred. I feel deeply compelled to dance this dance, so why not do it as best I can, and see where it leads? It is in the “doing of it” that an unforeseen result will take shape.

Life is so utterly short that it seems insane
not to respond to the promptings of the heart.

picture of lang in nature


  1. OK Lang, you are bookmarked and I am now along for the ride. All I can say is…. I wish I was with you in some wooded nook listening to frogs and birds as they do their thing.

  2. Lang,
    Thank you for letting everyone come along on your journey. I’m looking forward to seeing nature through your videos and photos. Until I can retire, I have to be satisfied with a few weeks of being in nature each year and this is not nearly enough!

  3. Found you while doing research for a children’s book. I am thrilled with your site. I also want to impart a sense of awe for our fellow creatures, an acknowledgement, appreciation, reverence for their astonishing gifts. I wish you the blessings of the earth as you wander around her heart. Looking forward to your poems. WIll you consider a place for poets to share on your site?

  4. Amazing how cyberspace will allow me to follow both you and Jillian. I’m looking forward to sharing discoveries and experiences!

    Be safe, but be also “ever bold” (as a ring Jillian made reminds me every day).


  5. Dorothy sent me!
    I’ll be tuning into your journey and experiencing similar jaunts this summer in the Northern Cascades of Washington, the Rocky Mountains of Idaho as well as the great Northern plains of Montana and Saskatchewan!

    And as for this, “It is in the “doing of it” that an unforeseen result will take shape.”
    Too true. Too true.

  6. Hey Lang!
    What a fantastic journey! Thanks for letting us tag along. You’re a model for how we should all be drinking it all in. Poet, artist, philosopher, wallower in the dirt–you do it all.
    Happy Travels to you . . . Don

  7. Alright Lang! Now we’re talking. There is such joy and wonder waiting in the fields and forests that a lifetime is not enough to sample its depths. I sincerely wish you a blessed journey through the spring and summer on your amazing quest.

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