Intimate relationships with landscapes hold the potential of making us better humans.
Huntley Meadows: A Naturalist’s Journal in Verse is a year-long, poetic narrative of my relationship with the inner and outer wilds encountered at a county park on the fringes of Washington, DC.
In 2001 I assigned myself a “soul task.” At the time I was living in the pathologically lawned suburbs of Springfield, Virginia and working amidst the frenetic urban landscape of Washington, DC. I felt depleted, disconnected, and down trodden by the daily grind and lack of emersion in Nature. I thus decided to create a weekly practice of “walking meditation” upon the trails of Huntley Meadows Park.
Huntley Meadows is a rarity.
The 1,500 acres of wetland and associated upland that make up the Park lie within just a few miles of our Nation’s Capital. Green space at the urban fringe. Presidents and Congressman have flown above it as long as they have flown. And some, perhaps, have walked Her trails.
The boardwalk at Huntley is frequented by every manner of person. Every age, every culture. Children grow up there. Adults reconnect with their inner child. Dreams are dreamed. Blessings are counted.
Huntley Meadows is where people go to look deep within their souls and to be a part of something greater than themselves. Even if that’s not the intent, it’s the outcome. A single duck or a muskrat or a butterfly has the power to make it so.
I offer this book as a tangle gift to the human community, to you, that emerged from what was intended as a very personal exercise in re-connection, respite, and renewal. I hope that you not only find it enjoyable, but that it awakens in you the desire to build an ever more intimate relationship with Nature—and through that—your own true nature.
As our landscapes are increasingly urbanized and fragmented by suburban lawns, places like Huntley Meadows Park grow in value—not only because they become refuges for wildlife, but because they are refugia for the wildness in each one of us.
We must save a place for the Wild both within and outside ourselves.
Go into the green spaces of your life. Value and protect them. Grow them. Let them become the sacred places of humanity where humans are…and our future is defined.