Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tribute to a Nature Lover

It's that time of year to look back.  When I do, I look back at my mom who recently passed away at the age of 90.  I would like to dedicate my blog to her and her memory.  I may not write as often as I would like--life, work, the commute-- all get in the way sometimes, but I am hopeful to do more in the coming year.  If nothing else, as a tribute to my mom, a life long nature lover.

My mom was my nature guru....no, it isn't that she knew so much about nature, it is that she LOVED so much.  Growing up, our family enjoyed many nature experiences together.  We would go on early morning breakfast picnics in the city park and evening walks too.  In the summer we would camp in state and national parks, being the cheap way for a family of five to travel.  I vividly remember the trip to the Tetons where bears ransacked the neighboring campsite.  Or the evening star gazing in the Black Hills.  Those stars were the biggest I had ever seen.  Or sitting on the dock at Lake Okoboji watching my glasses fall to the lake bottom!

Although I grew up in a big city, these outings in the parks led me to college studies in nature...ornithology, limnology, mammalogy, etc. and eventually to my career.  As I got older and had a family of my own, I began sharing nature with my children just as mom had shared with me and my siblings.  We stopped to watch an eagle on our way to school, sat by the river to see sandhill cranes, or traveled to the ocean to observe the strange life in the coastal waters.

With my mom's passing, it was my daughter who pointed out that she still lives.  She lives in the memories of those nature experiences, big and small.  She lives when I look at the clouds at sunset.  She would say, "That's gorgeous!".  She lives when the trees sway in the wind..."dance" as she would say.  And she lives when I take my grandchild on a walk through the woods... smelling the skunk, feeling the moss, or watching the birds.

Sharing nature with children is a passion of mine, a passion ignited by a wonderful woman who not only loved nature, but loved sharing it with others.  So, I dedicate this blog...this sharing ...to her.  In this new year, won't you share nature with someone you love?