|Summit of Bonticou Crag, Mohonk Preserve, New Paltz NY|
One of my favorite authors is John Burroughs. He was a contemporary of John Muir and cut from the same mold. The main difference between the two is where John Muir traveled widely through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, John Burroughs spent the great majority of his time at home in his beloved Catskill Mountains of New York. The enthusiasm with which both described Nature has few parallels in nature writing. I have always been drawn more to Burroughs though because of his ability to allow the reader to see the nature that is available to everyone just outside their back door. His essays, whether they were written about a common robin or some exotic animal that may have been passing through, always gives you the chance to see something in a new light or from a different angle. To Burroughs, no nature observation is mundane.
One of my favorite Burroughs essays is The Art of Seeing Things. The main theme that pervades this essay is that of awareness of nature that surrounds us and to what degree people display this awareness. According to Burroughs, "Power of attention and a mind sensitive to outward objects, in these lies the secret of seeing things." The naturalist, the hunter, the angler, the tracker and certain other professionals are all practitioners of "the art of seeing things" to some degree. I have always tried to better my ability to "see" so that I may gain a better understanding of my world whether it be while I'm fishing or simply going for walk in the woods. However, as I have grown older and looked around I have found so many who are tuned out and unaware of the potential dangers and the beauty of the world that surrounds them
|Whitetail Deer antler rub, Long Island Pine Barrens|
|Black Bear Tracks, Minnewaska State Park, Gardiner NY|
|Climb to top of Bonticou Crag|