A gentle dawn chorus along a small creek in the Ozarks Mountains of Arkansas. © Lang Elliott.
In 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 old-miracle.mystagingwebsite.com 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.