As an asthmatic child of the Depression, I grew up on the lower fringes of the Great Dismal Swamp. My boyhood was spent hunting, trapping, fishing, exploring and camping along the banks and swamps of Knobb’s Creek. My heroes were Theodore Roosevelt, and The Deerslayer and The Last of the Mohicans portrayed in James Fenimore Cooper’s “Leatherstocking Tales.”
Though now “long of tooth,” I sense their presence even today when I awake in the morning at my camp on Goose Creek Island, marveling at the dew sparkling like diamonds on the grass, the sunrise symphony of the awakening birds, the silhouette of a deer standing at the edge of the marsh, and the stillness and closeness of the great outdoors.
As a youngster, I often found myself looking at the world that surrounded me — the forests and fields, the creek and its swamps — and breathing: “I wish this day could last forever.”
No day does, of course. And neither can the forests and swamps and the purity of the streams and the creatures, large and small that dwell within them without our involvement. And that’s our abiding challenge, our responsibility – and our great opportunity.