Distracted by Nature

Hello all,

My name is Gareth and I’m a self-described naturalist, educator, and writer. I’ve recently come to a crossroads about my purpose in the world of natural history and needed a way to explore it more fully. For the past six years, I’ve worked as an environmental educator for several organizations throughout the eastern United States and have been writing about nature on several blogs during that time.

I’ve always defined myself as a naturalist, an observer of nature and intimate to its comings and goings. But even as I sit here, I know that’s not true. I’ve been suffering from cabin fever for the past few months and without the drive to explore the surrounding areas of my home here in New England, I feel deflated. To combat this, I’ve set myself three simple goals: Get outside. Anywhere you can. Write about it.

Outside and anywhere. What does that mean? Nature doesn’t reside just in a state or national park. It’s not confined to the wild tracts of our great country. It’s in our backyards, along our highways, deep in our rivers and ponds, and even in our homes as well.

Why would I take on such a quest?

Because it’s who I am or rather who I’ve defined myself as being. I’m a naturalist, a writer, an artist, a birder, a photographer, a teacher and so many other labels that I’ve granted myself over the years. What do those titles mean and where does that lead me?

After some thought, it has lead me back to a core characteristic of mine: observance of the natural world. The title of this blog references that characteristic of mine. I literally cannot help not looking at or getting distracted by the natural world. The way a hawk alights on a telephone pole as we blast by at 65 on the highway, the subtle mottled patterns lichen produce on a tree trunk, and even the way a habitat changes in the seasons fails to escape my eye. This blog is part of my journey to recapture that awe about the natural world and to refocus my attention on those details that blend into the background, escaping our notice and by extension, our concerns.

So if you find yourself distracted and wanting your own adventure, read one of my tales or two, and then get out there yourself with the expectation that you’ll experience something. Don’t visualize what it might be. Instead, go out to see what’s happening and let something capture your interest. You might be surprised by what you find.

Stay distracted.

Gareth

“I’d once heard that we are nothing but our stories. Forget the blood and bones and genes and cells. They’re not what we are. We are, rather, our stories. We are an accumulation of experiences that we have fashioned into our own grand, sweeping narrative.” – Ken Ilgunas, author of Walden on Wheels, Trespassing Across America, and This Land Is Our Land.

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