During my last semester of college, I took a science writing class. Despite it’s name, and luckily for me, it was not about writing technical science jargon or lab reports. It mostly covered nature writing and bringing scientific issues to the general population by interweaving personal experiences with scientific fact.
I loved the class, which was taught by Ceiridwen Terrill, author of Part Wild, a memoir about her experiences owning a part wolf.
In the class, we were told one day to write a childhood nature memory, using as much detail as possible. Here is the result.
Childhood Nature Memory
As I walk down the overgrown paths near my Grandma’s house, the sights overload my nine-year old brain. I’m visiting Grammy and her husband, Tom, in Yerington, Nevada, which is basically the middle of nowhere. The land is mostly desert, but not far from the house there’s a patch of trees. To my mind, I’m in an endless desert that in need of exploring. I run into the house every night rambling about the animal prints I see. “Maybe if you were quieter, you’d see some animals too.” Grandpa Tom quips. I don’t really pay attention to him though. The animals obviously just didn’t come out to play at the same hours I did.
One evening, Grammy decides that we are going for a walk. We walk along an animal beaten trail toward the trees. When we get near a clearing before the tree cluster, Grammy pulls me back, telling me to be quiet. Seconds later, the clearing is filled with almost fifty deer, heading toward the water that I can’t believe exists in this barren land. Not a hundred feet away from us are more deer than I’ve seen in my entire life.
Later at the house, I tell Grandpa Tom what we’ve seen. “See! I am quiet enough!” Grammy and Tom just looked at each other mischievously and let me continue my excited ramblings.