In this short excerpt from “A Floyd County Almanac” I’m following the thread backwards to explore my own roots in childhood that might have predisposed me to a lifetime as a “biology watcher.” What would you discover in your own life that left you with a persistent sense of belonging in and to the natural world? If you lack that connection, where might your life have diverged away from (what I feel is built into all of us) that inborn sense of curiosity and wonder in the outdoors?
…A hundred small nudges of genes, genius and life-events move our metamorphosis along the path towards our grown-up selves. The script for the play of your life might have been drafted long ago around a place—a secret hedgerow or hayloft, a mysterious back stairway or attic hideaway, or even haunting illustrations from a special story book. Your attitudes of trust and fear, of wonder and or curiosity, may be the residue of a childhood peak experience, good or bad; a marvel in the park or the delight of watching clouds.
If you make such matters the fuzzy object of lucid daydreams, you might glimpse shadows of critical turning-point events, memories of adult teacher-guides or relatives or private revelations whose influences altered the course of your own journey.
A tweak of the rudder early in the journey, even if not perceptible to those on board, can make the difference between arriving in England or arriving in Spain.
If you could walk backwards through time, the distant music that has guided you forward might turn out to have been performed on unlikely subliminal instruments—probably in the outdoors—whose melody has carried disproportional weight in tipping you towards the present passions you cherish and away from roads not taken…