My Journey

I grew up Green with a mother and grandmother who wasted nothing, shared everything and left only their footprints upon the earth long before it was fashionable to be Green! They raised their own food without pesticides and it was a family activity to pick the potato bugs off the young plants every morning...having contests to see who could collect the most! I never did ask my mother how she disposed of the bugs!

We recycled clothing and were as excited by the "hand me down" coats from cousins as we would have been from a shopping trip. All of friends lived the same way….not because of environmental awareness, but out of necessity.  Our parents survived the depression and the careful living stayed with them.  My mother-in-law is 94 and still has “Waste Not…Want Not” as her daily mantra.

Little by little things changed with conveniences and commercials.  Aluminum foil and plastic wrap replaced the bowl covers that looked like shower caps.  Plastic grocery bags appeared In 1977 and everyone embraced the “new”  without fast-forwarding to “now” when landfills are verflowing and birds and fish were injured and died from ingesting them in their diet.
Life was simple…we were connected to the earth.  Nothing could compare to a walk in the woods with my mother.  She taught me to look and listen and she gave me the gift of wonder.  We never took the gifts of nature for granted and grew up with a respect that came with sharing the time with her and knowing how special a forest trail was for her.  The message we give is the way that we live! 
I wrote this poem for her on her 88th birthday:


Is it any wonder of all the gifts you gave to me
That the special gift of wonder is what really made me…ME?
You taught me how to appreciate the wonders all around
You showed me nature’s secrets…we never made a sound.
We wondered as we wandered
In each season of the year
You showed me flowers, trees and birds
And God was very near.
You taught me to wonder about the clouds
And their patterns in the sky
The daily beauty of this earth
Could never pass you by.
Every star and every rainbow
Nothing was too small
To make us stop and wonder
At the magic of it all.
Thank You for the gift of WONDER
Carolyn Booth Stanson 

I have been tracing my path backwards to the walks in the woods…trying to determine the things in my life that had the most influence on me.  My mother, growing up in Northern Minnesota and books!  Books and more books about the gifts of nature and our connection.   In 1960  my mother gave me a beautiful book for my birthday:
A Walk With Me
by Gwen Frostic  

Her inscription reads:
To Carolyn:May you walk with me through this book always.
This book is filled with the things I love.  I hope you will love them, too
The first page is an invitation to the reader:  "If a little toad winks as you walk by….or you wish he would….then this little book is dedicated to you." The page that follows is all the explanation one needs to be truly connected to the earth…not just seeing, but being.  My mother’s gift is in these words..
Let's just wander here and there ~~
like leaves floating in the autumn air
and look at common little things ~~
stones on the beach ~~
flowers turning into berries...
From the winds we'll catch a bit
of that wondrous feeling that comes ~
~~ not from seeing ~~

but from being part of nature...
Gwen Frostic

Once you are part of nature, it is part of you and the responsibility and care for the abundant resources is a privilege and an  honor. 

Gwen Frostic (1906-2001)  spent her whole life in Michigan, writing about life and her experiences with nature.  You can recognize her books instantly…her books have no jacket, and it is difficult to find the publication information.  Each page is made out of a different kind of paper and the exquisite illustrations are linoleum block prints.    Each book is a gentle message that leaves no doubt…we are part of nature.