expresses my lifelong love for the natural world, and my attempts to
understand, to celebrate, and to preserve that world, which is our
It is an
illusion that nature is
gentle, and yet there are
few environments as nurturing as the deciduous forests of eastern North America.
spent my childhood in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York,
wandering through the fields and
woods with unbridled curiosity. This childhood freedom forever shaped
relationship with nature. My
the beauty, harmony, intricacy, and boundless power of life are today
buttressed both with scientific knowledge and with Buddhist teachings,
were born in my small boy’s heart as I turned over slimy
rocks in a
creek, looking for what I could find.
trip to Mexico
when I was twelve gave me a
lifelong love of travel, and of the tropics.
later, as a graduate student at Cornell
I was able to
twin passions in my long-term study of the Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock in Suriname, in northern South America. My camp, deep in
rainforest, was surrounded by
an unimaginable abundance of life, from tarantulas to jaguars to spider
to hundreds of species of birds. It
an easy place to conduct research, but I gloried in it, with
of purpose. The experience
about the intensity of life at the time when I was most equal to the
lesson. It forever cured me
with regard to nature. In the
predators, prey, green plants, decomposers, ants, mosquitoes, and
whirl together in utter interdependence, and the staggering beauty of
would be lost without the least of them.
1994, my wife, two children, and I have lived in Ashland,
folded between the foothills of the Cascade and Siskiyou Mountains. Here
have learned the humbling lessons of parenthood, have become a writer
and have set my feet on the path of Buddhist awareness.
I have also found a fitting environment for
my maturity: a landscape not gentle, rather dry, and yet deeply
engaging in its
age and complexity, in the richness of influences that it has
made its own. Here I will
learning all I can and trying my best to write about it.
To visit my site on the Earth Precepts: principles for a moral relationship with the earth, click here.