“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence. Wherever a man separates from the multitude and goes his own way, there is a fork in the road, though the travelers along the highway see only a gap in the paling.”

-Henry David Thoreau, Journal (18 October 1855)

These days I often find myself a wanderer. Not necessarily in a physical sense, but intellectually, philosophically. Fate and upbringing made me a student of many different disciplines, which as a fast learner, has made finding my “narrow and crooked” path frustrating at best. There are times I feel lost in the maelstrom of my passions. Today do I pursue my music or my photography? Or do I dig into my various technological skills?  Perhaps I should stand on my soapbox and advocate peace, conservation, or liberty?

I may be a fast learner, but it took me far too many years to see my error in pursuing degrees in computer and electrical engineering. Realizing that I would likely be trapped at a test bench or before a computer display, I became terribly unhappy. Yet through everything, there was always one place in which I was unreservedly happy: nature. My true sanctum sanctorum. And at a time in my life when it felt as though I was losing everything, two days alone in a silent, foggy wood restored my soul. Indeed, I am convinced of a great healing power in nature for those who would just open themselves to it.

And so perhaps in ecology and conservation I have at long last found that forked path in which I can “walk with love and reverence.” Now I just need to set out on that journey.

If you are interested, I try to occasionally write on my blog.

Christopher Nowlan