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Nature [publisher's letter]

Publisher Tracy Patterson with her dog sitting in the desert resting up from a hike

Tracy Patterson

It’s hard to recall the first time I made a connection with nature, but the article in this month’s Inspiration department, made me give it some thought.

Was it while playing with my stuffed toys at a very young age, most of which were wild animals like a fox and a koala bear, or perhaps the time I stood in a freezing cold mountain stream in the Rocky Mountains? Or was it while entertaining myself in the field at the end of our street, hiking or riding my horse out on trail rides?

I can’t pinpoint it, but looking back, I spent a lot of time outdoors from when I was very young, and a good portion of it in the wilderness. Of course, as a kid, even the ratty field at the end of the street was a wilderness, which I’m sure appeared much larger to my small self than it would today. It was a fun place to explore and study the natural world—every bug, plant and even the odd sighting of deer and coyotes. I was free to be creative with my thoughts, and I think this added to my connection with Mother Earth.

That relationship has grown over the years, and still today, I automatically live in places that I can be in nature every day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The ecosystems may change from mountains to ocean to desert, but the key for me is to have easy access to the wilderness. And in accordance with the “eco” part of our theme this month, I try to keep my footprint to a minimum. For example, I stay on the designated trails to minimize impact on the environment, and I stay off certain trails entirely after heavy rain to help minimize erosion.

I’m happy that I grew up when I did and had the opportunity to create my own unique feelings about nature and my place in it.